The K-6 teachers of Adelante Charter School all have a valid teaching credential and have “bilingual certification” as in our “two-way immersion” program, it is critical that teachers are fluent in the target language, Spanish. Our school culture is one that promotes academic success and this is achieved as our teachers set high expectations for themselves and for our students. Professional learning is a priority at Adelante and our teachers are trained in many of the most effective teaching strategies and instructional programs. Our teachers show great enthusiasm for collaboration with other teachers and communicate effectively with parents. Providing students with a quality learning environment is a priority here at Adelante and something you will find in our classrooms.
Carolina Alcaraz joined the wonderful Adelante community as a Kindergarten Teacher in 2015. She is originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, and moved to California in 2003 along with her parents and brother. Mrs. Alcaraz is married to her husband, Ricardo Alcaraz. Her passion for teaching motived her to obtain her teaching credential and Masters Degree in Bilingual Education from Antioch University of Santa Barbara. The relationship among teacher, student, and family is imperative for Mrs. Alcaraz. The student-centered and safe environments are number one priority in Mrs. Alcaraz’s style of teaching.
Fernanda Morales will be teaching kindergarten this year. She joined the Adelante family in 2016 after moving to Santa Barbara from Florida. She is originally from Argentina where she graduated from the National University of Tucuman with a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching English as a Second language. She taught English for more than ten years to children and adults from all over the world. She married her American husband and moved to Florida where she taught English and Spanish for about 5 years. Her goal was to teach at young children at elementary schools so she went on to obtain her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She has experienced the value of learning a second language and respecting other cultures in her own life, and so she strongly supports Adelante’s mission and feels proud to be part of such a great family. Ms. Morales’ main goal is to create a friendly and nurturing atmosphere in her classroom where every student feels valued and motivated to develop his full potential. When she is not teaching, she enjoys doing all sorts of outdoor activities: running, walking, working out and exploring nature. She looks forward to the many adventures that teaching Kindergarten will bring this year!
Graciela H. Rodriguez (Chely)has been involved in dual immersion education for 14 years. She was born in Santa Barbara and raised in Carpinteria. When she was in second grade she was discouraged from speaking Spanish at school and unfortunately stopped speaking it. Now, she has the opportunity to teach in Spanish everyday at ACS. As much as she loves to teach, she also loves to learn. After high school, she attended UCSB and graduated in 2002 with a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish. In 2005, she received her Masters in Multiple Subject Education and Mild to Moderate Disabilities Education Specialist Credential from Azusa Pacific University. In 2012, she obtained a Preliminary Administrative Credential. As a teacher, she understands the powerful impact a teacher can have on children and is dedicated to forming strong relationships with her students, their parents and the community at large. Mrs. Rodriguez is inspired by the academic and social growth of her students as they work collaboratively, practice compassion for all beings and become self-directed, life-long learners. With a heart full of passion, love for the history of ACS and the César Chávez Core Values, Mrs. Rodriguez is dedicated to the success of ALL her students. When she is not teaching, she enjoys playing roller derby and spending time with family. She loves ALL animals and is considering getting a new classroom pet.
María Dolores Meraz is a second grade teacher at Adelante Charter School. She has thirteen years of experience as a teacher, and for the last four of those years she has taught second grade. Mrs. Meraz was born in La Loma, Durango, Mexico. She studied to be an elementary school teacher at the Normal Rural in Saucillo, Chihuahua. Later, she graduated with a Master’s Degree as a mathematics teacher at the Normal Superior De La Laguna. She is married and has three daughters. In January of 2000, she began studying English as a second language at the Allan Hancock Community College in Santa Maria, California. In May of 2004 she completed her General Education there and transferred to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where in March of 2007 she earned her teaching credential. Mrs. Meraz truly believes in two-way immersion as a tool for supporting all students to demonstrate positive attitudes and behaviors toward other cultures. Mrs. Meraz not only cares that her students learn academic concepts, but that they also develop moral values and love for their families.
Tania Ferrufino will be teaching second grade this year and is new to the Adelante family. She is originally from El Salvador where she spent 5 and half years of her life before moving to Santa Barbara. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from San Diego State University, and earned her credentials from the California State University of Los Angeles. Ms. Ferrufino most recent involvement with education has been at Franklin Elementary where she taught a Kindergarten summer program. Prior to her work at Franklin she was a curriculum specialist at Roosevelt Elementary for all of first grade. Ms. Ferrufino’s love of teaching came at a very early age and has led her to where she is today. Ms. Ferrufino believes that it takes a community to educate children, and belives that each student should be valued for his or her individuality. Ms. Ferrufino sets the bar high in her classroom and expects excellence for each and everyone one of her students. She is so humbled and excited to be working at a bilingual school and cannot wait to learn and grow at Adelante.
Maestra Ruiz Santillán is a third grade teacher at Adelante Charter School where she began her career 10 years ago. She was born and raised in beautiful Santa Barbara. As a student of the University of California, Santa Barbara, she had the opportunity to study abroad in Granada, Spain, in 2005 at the CEGRI language school. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Chicana/o Studies, a Masters in Education, and a bilingual teaching credential from UCSB. She is an educator who is appreciative of the opportunity to teach her students and is committed to providing them with a rigorous third grade experience.
She is married and a mother. Along with spending time with her family, traveling, cooking and scrapbooking to record those special moments in her life. Mrs. Ruiz Santillan’s mission is to teach to the highest standards, guide students to collaborate and learn from each other, and to help them become kind, well-rounded citizens of the world. Yes we can!
Brenda Rubio is a third grade teacher at Adelante Charter School. She first began her teaching career as a kindergarten teacher. She taught kindergarten for 2 years and then continued her teaching journey in third grade. This will be her third year teaching third grade at Adelante and her fifth year overall. Maestra Rubio is married to Jorge Santana, also a Santa Barbara elementary school teacher. They are new parents to a beautiful little baby boy named Noah. One of the things Maestra Rubio enjoys doing the most is traveling with her family. She loves learning and exploring new cultures, trying new foods and being little adventurous.
Growing up in Santa Barbara as a bilingual student, she has seen the importance of being not only bilingual, but also bi-literate. She is very excited to be a part of a school that provides students the opportunity to develop bilingualism. Maestra Rubio received her Bachelor’s degree and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at CSU Channel Islands. Her goal is to provide a learning environment that promotes critical thinking, as well as a place where students can collaborate and inspire each other to be successful. Maestra Rubio is looking forward to motivating her students’ to a life long love of learning just as her teachers did during her school years.
Fourth, Fifth & Sixth Grades
Annabel Meza is one of the fourth grade teachers at Adelante Charter School. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a double minor in Education and Spanish. She continued her studies at UCSB where she received her Masters of Education and multi-subject teaching credential. Ms. Meza began her journey at Adelante as a student teacher in 2016. Her love for the Adelante community grew immensely and she knew that Adelante was the place she would like to call home. Growing up in East Los Angeles as a bilingual student, she has learned the importance of learning a second language and the value of maintaining students native language. Her love for teaching came at an early age as she was inspired by her pre-kindergarten teachers, who she maintains a close relationship up to this day. This experience has inspired her to also create close relationships with students and parents in order to create a community that inspires, encourages, and promotes educational goals. Ms. Meza is excited to continue working with our community and cannot wait to continue learning and growing at Adelante Charter School.
Luisa Thomas is one of the fourth grade teachers at Adelante Charter School. She grew up in Carpinteria, California. She is a native Spanish speaker. She did her student teaching in Santa Barbara Charter School in a third grade class and in Franklin kindergarten class. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and her teaching credentials from Antioch University. She has a 6-year-old son and enjoys hiking, reading, and traveling. She is passionate about learning and growing. Her goal is to foster an environment where students become self-motivated leaders. She hopes to encourage all students to know that their life goals are attainable. “Yes we can!/Si se puede!”
Veronica Ramos is a fifth grade teacher and joined the staff in 2011. She was born and raised in a Spanish speaking home where her parents passed down strong Mexican values and instilled the importance of an education. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Chicana/o Studies at the UCSB in 2008. Two years later she went back and earned a Masters in Education and a bilingual teaching credential. She truly loves teaching, and sees her work as the planting of seeds where she experiences tremendous joy watching the children sprout. When she is not at Adelante, you can find her playing team sports, softball being her favorite. She also enjoys watching her students play youth sports. Her teaching philosophy is centered around cooperation where students have the opportunity to construct their own learning. She finds that the students not only learn together but they also teach each other. In her classroom Maestra Ramos creates an environment where everyone strives to become a successful TEAM; where everyone is important, respected, valued, loved and encouraged.
Michael Macioce has been a teacher at Adelante Charter School since 2004. Mr. Macioce was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York and was raised in New Jersey. He studied German in high school, and studied in Berlin, Germany for his senior year. He started college at Hampshire College in Massachusetts and finished at UC Santa Cruz, graduating with a BA in Environmental Studies and later a Masters in Teaching. He studied Spanish after arriving in California, while teaching preschool in Ventura. He is married to Lauren Macioce with whom he has two daughters, both are graduates of Adelante. Mr. Macioce believes in the power of two-way immersion as a vehicle for social justice and building peace across cultural lines. He is enthusiastic about inquiry-driven mathematics, hands-on ocean science and infusing everyday learning with technology. He strives to nurture students’ social-emotional intelligence and empathy, foster a love for reading literature, and support students’ self-expression through intensive writing instruction. He hopes that all students develop a deep confidence during their time at Adelante Charter that they can learn to accomplish whatever it is they wish for in life.
Lauren Macioce is the dance teacher at Adelante and was previously the PE teacher for 12 years. Lauren was born and raised in Ventura, California. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in American Studies and finished her teaching credential with Cal State Teach. She is married to Michael Macioce with whom she has two daughters, Isabella and Gianna. Lauren is a natural advocate for a highly active lifestyle who shares her enthusiasm for athletics, dance and playful activity with all of the students and the whole Adelante community. She teaches Zumba four days a week and is looking forward to offering Zumba to the Adelante community. You will often find her dancing at recess with the kids and can’t wait to show off her students at the end of the year show!
Jose Sandoval-Buzo is our newest Physical Education teacher. Although this is only his second year as the Physical Education Teacher, he is not new to the Adelante community since he has been involved for many years. In previous years, Jose served the Adelante families as the Site Coordinator for the After-School Program and has supported various grades as an Instructional Aid. Jose received his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from CSU Los Angeles with the goal of mastering in the field of Education.
Jose’s true passion for teaching sparked from a combination of different reasons. He was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, where he was exposed to many social problems; among them, the lack of a good quality early education. Growing up in a difficult setting, he learned the importance and impact of positive role models. For these reasons, Jose wants to empower and inspire students to become the best version of themselves. Lastly, Jose feels very fortunate to be able to combine both of his biggest passions in life– teaching and physical activity to his professional career.
“Art was so important to me as child and I was lucky enough to grow up in a family that believed in the value of raising creative thinkers. Through art we learn to be open minded, think critically, appreciate the beauty of the things around us, dream big and always maintain our childlike sense of wonder.”
Amber O’Rourke grew up in Watsonville, California and moved to Santa Barbara during the summer of 2003. She attended SBCC before transferring to the University of California, Santa Barbara where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art. Since graduating she has had the pleasure of teaching art through the iCAN program at several Santa Barbara elementary schools including Harding University Partnership School and Santa Barbara Community Academy. Amber has a passion for teaching children to express themselves through creative art and truly believes that art education helps aid children in their journey to becoming well-rounded, balanced individuals. Amber is a painter, avid reader, animal lover and live music enthusiast. She finds artistic inspiration in a wide variety of artists such as Mark Rothko, Gustav Klimt and Paul Klee.
Sandra Limón joined the Adelante Charter School community in March of 2017. Sandra was born and raised in Inglewood, California where she was first introduced to music at a very early age, having had the opportunity to participate in her father’s Spanish parish choir at the age of 4, while learning to play the piano at the age of 6. Sandra’s passion for music continued into UCLA where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Music History (2007). Upon receiving her Bachelor’s, Sandra returned to the South Bay, opening a piano studio for students of all ages while also becoming St. Joseph School’s Music Teacher for nearly 10 years. During her time in Adelante, Sandra has formed our school’s first choir and has started a performing arts program along with the specialist teachers. She continues to find ways to have the school’s music performances be inclusive and culturally sensitive to our school community. Sandra is passionate about creating a positive learning environment revolving around Music Theory, Music Performance and Music History
Dr. Jarice Butterfield is currently the Santa Barbara County SELPA Director and is an Adjunct Professor at Antioch University Santa Barbara. She has background and training in school psychology, English language development and special education. She worked for many years in bilingual schools as a resource specialist and English language development instructor. She has written several grants to fund and implement model English language development programs for parents and students incorporating technology-assisted instruction. She has previously worked as a Special Education and Bilingual Program Director in various school districts and counties for many years. She provides staff development nationally and in the state of California on meeting the needs of English learners with disabilities. She drafted the book Meeting the Needs of English Learners with Disabilities Resource Book for the State SELPA Directors Association and co-authored Best Practices for Meeting the Needs of English Learners With Disabilities available through LRP Publications. She also currently serves as the Chair Person to the State SELPA Directors’ Association Ad Hoc English Learner Committee.
Leticia Lemus is the special education teacher and joined the staff in 2018. She was born in Michoacan, Mexico where she spent six and a half years before moving to Santa Paula, California. Ms. Lemus is the oldest of five and grew up in a Spanish speaking household. From an early age, she realized the importance of being bilingual as well as that of pursuing a higher education. She learned that her bilingualism bridged many gaps between her parents and English-only speakers. For that reason, she was inspired to pursue a career where she could use her native language to continue bridging gaps. In high school, after meeting a teacher that helped her realize her true potential, Ms. Lemus knew that becoming a teacher was her calling. With dedication, she got her B.A. at UC Santa Barbara and finished her Education Specialist and Multiple Subject credentials at Antioch University, Santa Barbara. Prior to pursuing her teaching credential, Ms. Lemus worked in various school settings in Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Montecito. Those experiences shaped her philosophy of education. She is dedicated to creating a safe and caring environment conducive to learning; she believes that students learn best when they feel safe and cared for. She has high expectations for all students and believes that teamwork amongst students, families, teachers, and support providers is a critical component in developing a comprehensive support system which nurtures students’ academic and socio-emotional well-being. Ms. Lemus is honored to be a part of a school community that works tirelessly to create a more just and equitable society.
Samuel Orozco, psychologist joined the Adelante Charter School community in the summer of 2019. He is the School Psychologist and Special Education Coordinator. Samuel developed a strong passion for serving others at a young age and was involved in multiple service organizations while attending undergraduate school at the University of San Diego. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he began his career as an educator when he joined Teach for America and became a middle school teacher in South Central Los Angeles. After teaching there for two years and attaining a Masters degree from Loyola Marymount University in Urban Education with an emphasis in Educational Policy and Administration, he moved south to the city of Santa Ana. There he continued to teach at another middle school and assumed more leadership roles at the school while also working on and attaining a Masters and Education Specialist degree in School Psychology from Chapman University. While in Santa Ana, Samuel continued to be service oriented and in 2016 met who would later become the love of his life. They were active members of a faith-based community, grew in their passion for service and promoting bilingual education, and tied the knot in the spring of 2019. Samuel is excited to be back in the Central Coast and is looking forward to becoming an active member of the vibrant Adelante community. “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” – St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta