ACE / ESL Faculty
Mary Gross, Department Chair
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, originally 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 opportunities, 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.
Debbie Hanley, originally from Chicago, got her undergraduate degree from Bethel University in Paul, MN, where she majored in Elementary Ed and minored in French. But it was the following year spent in Michoacan, Mexico where her passion for teaching ESL began. She spent the next eight years teaching at Concordia College in River Forest, IL, a community program in St. Paul, MN, and finally at MiraCosta College where she has been teaching for the past twenty years.
While at MiraCosta, Debbie got her Master’s Degree in ESL at Alliant University. The following year she spent as the Director of the ESL department at their campus outside of London. Back at MiraCosta, she has taught in the non-credit program, the credit program as well as the English Language Institute, here on the Oceanside campus.
Debbie’s passion is helping students gain confidence in their English skills, and one way she has been able to do that is by getting them involved in Service Learning by volunteering at the Boys and Girls Clubs in Oceanside as well as Vista. She also believes in giving back to the community, so she began “Project One Can” with her students which resulted in hundreds of pounds of donated food to MCC’s food pantry. Debbie’s involving her students in both projects resulted in her receiving the “Faculty Spotlight Award” in 2011 as well as a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Legislature that same year.
Debbie is excited about helping students start their college careers by enhancing their academic skills and by being their cheerleader along the way!
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.
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.
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.
José Antonio Rodriguez-Castillo III, a native Californian, began his journey into higher education with a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies from Pepperdine University. As a paralegal, he wrote extensively and forged a passion for writing. José decided to return to school and was accepted at Cal State Fullerton and the University of Turabo in Puerto Rico. He chose Puerto Rico. There he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master’s in Education in Teaching English as a Second Language and taught English and ESL for 3 years at La Universidad Metropolitana. He was also the Universities English Coordinator for the Tutoring Center and taught a special ESL course to the executive staff. Jose is delighted to return to his native California to continue his vocation of helping second language learners achieve their goals of becoming proficient English language communicators and is dedicated to their success.
Kris Sension was born and raised in Michigan, a much colder place than Southern California! After high school, she moved to the Chicago area to attend Wheaton College. There, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Literature along with a teaching degree. First, she taught high school English in Chicago in impoverished neighborhoods and saw first-hand the difference that an education can make in a person’s future. Soon, Kris had the opportunity to return to school where she studied for a master’s degree in Linguistics with an emphasis on Teaching English as a Second Language. In Illinois, she next taught at the College of Lake County until her family’s surprising move to California. The most interesting place that Kris has taught English is in Myanmar, a place she knew little about until going there. She is so happy for the multi-cultural environment around MiraCosta where she can continue to learn of her students’ experiences in other parts of the world.
Kris believes that the most wonderful aspect of being an ESL teacher is being part of the process as people reach their goals here in the United States. Semester after semester, students show dedication and motivation to get an education, which will improve their lives. Kris is honored to offer a service along the way, wanting each student to succeed not just in school, but in life.
Marie Webb graduated Summa Cum Laude with a M.Ed. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Culture, and Literacy from the University of San Diego. She has taught adult ESL since 2010 in a wide range of settings in the USA, Korea, Japan, and Macau. Her research interests include student and teacher beliefs, learner autonomy, and learning strategies and she enjoys presenting research at international conferences. After much time spent working abroad, Marie is happy to be home in Southern California and enjoys surfing, running, hiking, and snowboarding in her free time. She considers the TESOL field to be one of the most rewarding professions in the world and encourages her students to use technology in the classroom to aid not only their language skills, but also their digital literacy and learner responsibility.