Mary Gross - Lead Instructor
Mary began her higher education as a student of Mount San Antonio Community College in Walnut, California. She then earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Cal Poly Pomona University, and her Master of Science in TESOL Education from Cal State University Fullerton where she was awarded the Outstanding MS Candidate in TESOL. She also holds a Certificate in Online Teaching from the UCLA.
In the 1980s , Mary taught Academic ESL Writing, Reading, and Listening/Speaking at Cal Poly University and local community colleges in the Los Angeles area. Upon moving to San Diego in 1993, Mary joined MiraCosta Community College as an Associate Faculty member where she taught all of the ESL course offerings as well as served as the Associate Faculty Representative to the Academic Senate.
In 1999, Mary attained a full-time position at San Diego Miramar College where she taught both English and ESL. She was a faculty leader in ESL program revision and development as well as served as the Team Leader for General Education course development for SDCCD Online.
Mary was thrilled to return to MiraCosta in 2005 as the Lead Instructor for the Credit English as a Second Language Program and is dedicated to helping ESL students succeed in college and meet their academic, personal, and vocational needs.
Melissa Lloyd-Jones is a native Californian, orginally from the Los Angeles area. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from the University of Redlands and a Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language from UCLA. While in college, she studied Spanish in Guadalajara, Mexico and Madrid, Spain, experiencing the thrill and challenge of learning a second language. Prior to working as an English teacher, she worked as a vocational rehabilitation counselor helping people who had been injured at work to train for new jobs within their physical capacities. She has always loved helping people to build skills to enrich their lives and expand their opportunites, and this passion is what attracted her to teaching. She began teaching ESL in Sacramento, California in 1994. She taught in the Intensive English Program at UC Davis and at Sacramento City College. In 1997 she began teaching part-time here at MiraCosta College and Palomar College. She became a full-time instructor here in 2008. She has taught all levels of English to people from other countries; she also has experience teaching writing to people born in this country.
Melissa's highest priorities as a language instructor are to make learning interesting for students and to help meet students’ individual needs as they develop their writing, reading, and speaking skills. Believing deeply in the power of education, Melissa loves her work and thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to get to know students.
Sou was born in Vientiane, Laos. She started her schooling in RoiEt, Thailand and continued her education in the United States. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Diego State University and a Master of Arts degree from Ohio University in Linguistics with emphasis in TESOL. In 2005, Sou went to Chile as a Fulbright Fellow and worked with the Universidad de Atacama.
Sou enjoys learning and teaching languages. She speaks, reads, and writes five languages. For the past 12 years, Sou has taught ESL and various other subjects with the San Diego Community College District in San Diego, California, The Northern Jiaotong University in Beijing, China, Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and Universidad de Atacama in Copiapo, Chile. Currently, Sou is a part-time instructor with MiraCosta College and UCSD's ELI Program.
It is Sou's love for continued/lifetime learning and interest in peoples, places, languages, cultures, and customs that has motivated her to want to share this love and interest with others. Sou hopes to continue her lifelong "dream job" as a teacher who shares and inspires her students for the love of learning; the love of knowledge.
Heather Weldele received her Bachelor’s of Arts in English, Magna Cum Laude, from San Diego State University. While attending, she additionally worked as a teaching assistant for the Rhetoric and Writing Studies Department. She received her Master’s in English at Queen Mary University of London, where she graduated with merit. She has also attended London Teachers’ Training College and University of California Santa Barbara Extension, earning both TEFL and TESOL certificates.
After receiving her Master’s degree and returning from London, she began to teach a variety of ESL courses at English Language Services, where she was also Student Advisor and Activities Coordinator. At the same time, she taught both transferable English Composition and remedial writing at The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Diego. Currently, she teaches credit and non credit courses, from basic skills to academic ESL at both Palomar and MiraCosta.
Heather is most passionate about education and travel. She has visited over twenty countries on six continents, and she has lived and studied abroad twice. She understands the difficulties of experiencing a new culture and greatly admires her students for studying in a second language. She finds teaching to be the most rewarding thing she does in her life and is inspired by her students’ determination and progress.
Christian was born and raised in Carlsbad, CA. He attended MiraCosta College in the late 90’s before transferring to UCSD, where he received his B.A. in History in 2002. After graduation, he traveled to France and Ecuador to teach English abroad. When he returned in 2006, he taught ESL at a private school in Old Town, San Diego for three years.
In 2009, he received his M.A. in TESOL from Alliant International University. Christian is very proud and honored to return back to MiraCosta to teach English and learn from his students. He has been teaching at MiraCosta since 2010 in the credit department. He loves teaching writing, speaking, listening, and vocabulary.
Christian’s great passion is traveling and learning about other cultures. He hopes that each year brings him clarity and wisdom to see the world better through his student’s English journey. Other than that, he is a long suffering fan of the Chargers. He hopes one day to celebrate a super bowl championship with his students.
Holly Lecakes-Jones was born in New York City, New York and was raised in Goshen, New York. After completing her first year of college on Long Island she moved to the San Diego area. MiraCosta and Palomar colleges offered a bridge to California State University, Long Beach. There she received her B.A. in Spanish language and culture. Upon taking her first Linguistics class, it was love at first phoneme! She went on to pursue a M.A. in Linguistics and holds BCLAD and TESOL certificates.
In 1991 Holly returned to the San Diego area to teach full-time for the award winning Poway Unified school district. She coordinated the ESL/EDL program at Rancho Bernardo high school until 1998. She currently teaches full-time Spanish there.
In 2003 Holly took a sabbatical from RBHS and spent time with her family, created cultural Powerpoint presentations, and traveled to Mexico and Spain. Holly feels honored to return to MiraCosta as an instructor. She says, “Language learning is a long voyage; relax and enjoy the trip!”
Richard Ma graduated magna cum laude from the University of Redlands with a BA in English Literature and a minor in Education. He began his teaching career as a Reading/Language Arts teacher at the middle school level and stayed in this line of work for six wonderful years. During this time, he returned to school and earned a Masters in Education with an emphasis in Instructional Technology from Cal State, San Bernardino and acquired a Library Media Teacher credential from Cal State, Long Beach. Richard was promoted to the librarian position shortly thereafter, where he worked for an additional six years running the school's information literacy program. It was at this time that Richard began exploring online education, and he enrolled in and completed an online Masters in English Literature from National University. In the ensuing years, Richard taught developmental composition courses and served as a faculty tutor in the Writing Center at Moreno Valley Community College. Eventually, Richard arrived at MiraCosta College and now works as a full-time library instructor and liaison to students at the Community Learning Center. Never one to pass an opportunity at an education, Richard earned a Masters in Library Science from Drexel University and a TESOL Certificate from Anaheim University in his first two years at MiraCosta.
Richard recognizes that success comes from hard work and tries to instill that ethic in his students. Having been an ESL student, Richard understands the struggles emerging English learners face and tailors his instruction based on proven, researched best practices to help students find success. He deeply believes that a solid education opens more doors of opportunity and strives tirelessly to help students move toward that path.
Debbie's introduction to ESL was quite unusual. During a year of volunteer work in Morelia, Michoacan, she contracted typhoid fever and was forced to stay at home. When neighbors heard that she as a teacher, they asked if she could teach them English so that they could go to "el otro lado." Having just completed her BA degree in Elementary Education/French from Bethel College in St. Paul MN, Debbie was unfamiliar with this kind of teaching, but found some books and dove right in. To her delight, she discovered her passion- teaching adults who are excited about learning English!
Upon returning to the states, she as able to continue teaching at Concordia College in River Forest, IL. Her teaching assignments have subsequently taken her to Minnesota, Florida, and finally to MiraCosta where she has been teaching for the past eighteen years in the noncredit ESL program. She received her Masters in TESOL from USIU in 1991 and spent the following year as the director of ESL at their London campus. During her years at MCC, Debbie has initiated the International Conversation Cafes, which is now a monthly event at MCC; she has also been awarded two innovation grants for her MENTOR and TEAM programs that have been successfully implemented at the Community Learning Center. Debbie has taught the ESL Bridging class for the past ten years and is excited about her new credit assignment, ESL 820, a grammar review class.
Nikola was born and raised in the Czech Republic. She earned her Magister degree at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen where she double majored in English Language and Literature and Russian Language and Literature with emphasis on teaching both disciplines. During her studies, she was teaching ESL at different schools in her home country and later also at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen.
After finishing school, Nikola followed her husband to San Diego and enrolled in San Diego State University where she earned a Master of Arts degree in Education specializing in Policy Studies in Language and Cross Cultural Education with Emphasis on Linguistics. She also holds a Basic Certificate in Applied Linguistics and ESL from SDSU. During her studies at SDSU, Nikola is a member of several professional organizations including Phi Beta Delta - Honor Society for International Scholars, Pi Lambda Theta - International Honor Society and Professional Association in Education, and CATESOL – California Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
During her graduate program at SDSU, Nikola developed a deep interest in the academic experience of international college students on American campuses. She is excited to be able to work with international students at the Mira Costa College helping them with their language as well as cultural adjustment challenges.