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.


Liliana Carolina Alcaraz Garfias

Carolina Alcaraz -Liliana Carolina Alcaraz Garfias began her professional career in 2012 and 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. Education became the most important path to continue thriving after arriving in the United States. Her passion for teaching helped her to obtain her teaching credential and Masters Degree in Bilingual Education from Antioch University of Santa Barbara. Knowing first-hand the importance of keeping your roots and culture as part of your identity, motivated her to obtain the Bilingual Authorization from Cal State LA. Creating a strong relationship among teacher, student, and family is imperative for Mrs. Alcaraz. The student-centered and safe environments with high expectations are also the number one priority in Mrs. Alcaraz’s style of teaching. Outside of school, Mrs. Alcaraz loves to spend time with her husband, Ricardo and her two children, Emilia Carolina and Cristiano Ricardo. The teacher’s favorite activities are enjoying the beach, attending concerts, eating, dancing, exercising and rooting for her favorite teams, Chivas Rayadas del Guadalajara and Los Angeles Rams.

Janina Tabilo

Janina Tabilo is one of the two Kindergarten teachers at Adelante. She was born and raised in Santiago, Chile. During her childhood and young adulthood, she had opportunities to live and study abroad, experiences that grew here passion for cultures and opened her mind to education in the world. For this reason, she obtained her bachelor’s in Education from Universidad Andrés Bello in her home country. In 2008, she moved to the United States and rapidly continued her teaching career. She has been educating children for thirteen years in different grades and settings, including schools in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Chile. She is passionate about Education and always looks for new opportunities to learn and become a better educator. In 2019, Janina received her Master’s of Educational Leadership from Concordia University, Portland. Besides her teaching passion, she enjoys relaxing at the beach, dancing, studying and visiting family and friends worldwide.

First Grade

Graciela H. Rodriguez (Chely)

Graciela H. Rodriguez (Chely) is in her twenty-second year as an educator at Adelante Charter School. In addition to being an educator, she has served as Admin Designee, Lead Teacher, Secretary for School Site Council and Director of Special Education. She is currently co-facilitating the Emergent Bilingual Advisory Council (EBAC). As much as she loves to teach, she also loves to learn and for this reason she obtained her Administrative Credential.  Maestra Rodriguez understands the powerful impact a teacher can have on children and is dedicated to form strong relationships with her students, their parents and the community at large. With a heart full of passion and love for the history of ACS and the César Chávez Core Values, Maestra Rodriguez is dedicated to the success of ALL her students. She is inspired by the academic and social-emotional growth of her students as they work collaboratively, practicing compassion for all beings and becoming self-directed, life-long learners. In addition to being an educator, she is involved in many organizations that promote social justice and equity in the community. She was a founding member of the Santa Barbara-Ventura Association of  World Language Teachers and is currently working  on founding a Santa Barbara County Chapter for the California Association of Bilingual Educators in order to build strong network connections with other DLI leaders. She has served as a Commissioner for the City of Goleta Parks and Recreation, Board Member for Explore Ecology, Director of Spanish Services for PEP, and Chair for Training as a member of the Junior League of Santa Barbara. In addition to her passion for education, Maestra Rodriguez loves animals, being married to her partner Bernie and being a mom to her son Vicente, who is starting Kindergarten this year 2023. ¡YES, WE CAN! 

Fernanda Morales

Fernanda Morales -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!

Second Grade

María Dolores Meraz

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.

Andrea Carrillo

Andrea Carrillo After teaching first grade for 6 years at Adelante Charter School, this year Maestra Carrillo continues her educational journey as a second grade teacher this year. She is looking forward to challenging her students to reach high academic goals. ACS’s mission, vision, and values correlate with Maestra Carrillo’s strongest beliefs. She is prepared to help her second graders develop strong academic and cultural foundations so they can provide leadership in their families, community, and world. Together, they will reach unimagined heights and have fun while doing so! She is excited to provide her students with a safe, encouraging, challenging, and loving learning environment where students can express themselves academically and socially.

Maestra Carrillo graduated from CSU Channel Islands in 2014, and in 2016 she returned to CI to obtain her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with the Bilingual Authorization. Her husband is Mario Carrillo and they have three daughters who also attend ACS; Victoria in kindergarten, Viviana in second grade and Kassandra in sixth grade. She was raised in Carpinteria, where she and her family still live.Maestra Carrillo comes from a very large, supportive, close knit family. Coming from a large family, she knows the true meaning of “it takes a village to raise a child”, and is prepared to do so with parents and other staff! Maestra Carrillo believes the biggest gift from her parents was for them to have raised her to be bilingual and bi-literate. Her passion is to work with children and families to build, encourage, and promote bilingual education in a world where it is very much needed and appreciated. She was a bilingual student herself, and found and appreciated the deep personal and professional benefits and opportunities she has received from being so.

Third Grade

Maestra Ruiz Santillán

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!

Jared Hernandez

Fourth, Fifth & Sixth Grades

Annabel Meza

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.

Alexia Limón- bio coming soon

Monica Dettmer
Monica Gotzmer started teaching in 2015, and has been at Adelante since 2017. She studied Spanish, English and Education at UC Davis, and got her teaching credential and Masters at UC Santa Cruz. She loves running, going to the beach with her dog, reading, the outdoors, animals, music, spending time with her husband, and Adelante Charter School! Adelante is the reason Monica moved to Santa Barbara back in 2017, and here she has found her forever home. Monica and Asher are welcoming their first child this year in September 2023. They can’t wait to one day see their daughter as an Adelante student.
Tania Ferrufino

Tania Ferrufino will be teaching fifth grade this year. 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.

Veronica Ramos is a sixth 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.

Marcos Espino


Lauren Macioce

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

Jose Sandoval Buzo (aka Coach) is our Physical Education teacher. Coach’s passion for teaching sparked from a combination of different experiences. He was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, where he was exposed to many criminal and social problems, including the lack of quality education. Therefore, he decided to immigrate to Santa Barbara at age 15 to pursue his dream of a college education. Since then, he has earned an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice and Liberal Studies from SBCC, a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from CSU Los Angeles, and received his Teaching Credential and Master’s degree in Education from Antioch University. 

Growing up in a challenging setting has taught him about the impact that positive role models and sports can have on our youth. For these reasons, Coach wants to inspire and empower his students to become the best version of themselves through his classes. He hopes to pass on his driven mentality to his students. Coach’s philosophy is to lead by example which is why you will catch him working out, running, and playing with his students on any given day. Lastly, Coach feels very fortunate to combine both his biggest passions in life in his professional career: teaching and physical activity.


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

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 started a theater program, along with Maestra Lauren and Maestra O’Rourke.  We have been able to showcase our student’s talents and continue to find a variety of musicals to expose our students to different styles of theater. 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 including the use of instruments to benefit the student’s body and mind.

Special Education

Leticia Lemus

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.

Meaghan Romo, psychologist

Elizabeth Servin, School Counselor- Bio coming soon

Ericka Bobadilla– Our school’s super sub.

Student Teachers

Hello! My name is Savannah Medellin and I am the student teacher from UCSB in Maestra Meza’s class (4th grade). I am excited to have the opportunity to be a Adelante and learn from all the amazing staff. I am passionate about education and it is a pleasure to be at a dual immersion school as I am seeing how students develop skills in both languages. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from UCSB in 2022. I worked as a Bilingual Para educator at Adams Elementary last year and I enjoyed working with students and supporting their acquisition of a second language. My experience working with students inspired me to pursue a career in teaching. All in all, I am excited to be able to learn and grow throughout this experience so I can be a better teacher for my students.

Evelyn Vargas (she/her/ella) is a first generation graduate student pursuing her Special Education Credential for Mild/Moderate support needs, Masters of Education, and Bilingual Authorization in Spanish. Evelyn is from Riverside CA and a fun fact is that she has a tortoise. Her goal is to support all students by advocating for them and providing equal access to tools and educational opportunities. She is eager to learn from the Adelante community and appreciates any feedback or advice.

Hello! My name is Priscilla Nolasco, I am one of the student teachers that will be here at Adelante this school year. I will begin the school year with Maestra Limón in fourth grade. I am very excited and fortunate to be doing my placement in a dual immersion school. I am looking forward to collaborating and learning from each of you. A little bit about me: I was born and raised in Santa Bárbara, but my parents are from Mexico. My mom is from Tamaulipas and my dad is from Michoacán. I am a very proud first generation student. I studied at Santa Barbara City College and San Francisco State University. I am currently attending UCSB to achieve my goal of becoming a teacher. I enjoy spending time with my family, playing with my puppy Lola, and spending time in nature. I look forward to getting to know each of you a little bit more this year.

Hello everyone! My name is Katherine Melendez and I’m one of the student teachers this school year at Adelante. I’m very excited to be able to work with you and to start my journey in my career as a bilingual teacher. At the start of the school year, I will be working in Maestra Rodriguez’s classroom with first grade. To tell you a little about myself, I am from South San Francisco and moved to Santa Barbara to complete my undergraduate studies at UCSB. This previous year, I worked at Santa Barbara High School as a Bilingual Curriculum Specialist with newcomer Emergent Multilingual students which really inspired my desire to work in a dual language immersion setting. I am currently pursuing my teaching credential at UCSB and look forward to continuing to grow as a person and as a teacher with you and getting to know all of you this coming year. Do not hesitate to say hello when you see me around campus! 🙂