Meet Our Instructors
Teachers for the Adult School are professional educators. All state-funded courses and many community interest classes are taught by credentialed teachers. In addition, some of our instructors bring to the classroom their expertise from other professions or occupations.
has been Sewing since she was 9 years old. She says, "They couldn't keep fabric, needles, and thread away from me!" She constantly expands and refines her skills by taking challenging classes and attending professional conferences. A dress, jacket, and purse ensemble that she designed and made was accepted into the juried Wearable Art Exhibit at the 17th Annual Pacific International Quilt Festival in October 2008.
Participants in DeAnne's classes choose their own projects and many return to learn additional skills and sewing techniques. "I have some students who have taken my class every quarter, every year I've taught," she notes. Many of her students have little previous experience when they first enroll. Student projects have included alterations and making skirts, shirts, pajamas, baby clothes, tote bags, napkins, and a wedding dress! Diane has taught students from Peru, Israel, France, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil, as well as the United States.
has been teaching ESL, writing, presentation skills and oral communication at PAAS since 2007. She started her career as a technical writer in 1980 and has since worked in a myriad of writing, training and producing capacities in fields as varied as high technology, education and broadcasting. Mitra’s deep and broad experience has been instrumental in her successful approach to teaching as well as in her creation of an innovative series of courses. Her students run the gamut, from college professors, visiting scholars, post-doctorate students, executives, engineers, and professionals, to college or college-bound students, and stay-at-home parents.
Mitra received her Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Sociology from University of York in England. She holds a California State Professional teaching credential.
Elizabeth Bales-Stuteshas been teaching ESL, grammar, and writing at Palo Alto Adult School since 2004. She worked as a copy editor before becoming a teacher and enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for the English language with her students. Her student-centered teaching style makes learning more fun through lively discussions and humor, with a philosophy of respect for the individual. "I have the UN in my classroom!" says Elizabeth, who has taught adults of all ages from all over the world.
Elizabeth earned a BA in Communication at Mills College in Oakland and an MA in the Teaching of English Literature at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. She holds a California State Designated Subjects teaching credential.
began teaching at the Palo Alto Adult School last spring when she taught Business Communications. This fall she taught Fundamentals of Writing II as part of the new Writing Academy. Kay comes to PAAS with over 25 years experience in California public school classrooms where she taught everything from Video Technology to History and English. Kay has extensive experience in writing having been affiliated with the Bay Area Writing Project as well as graduate level courses in writing at Stanford where she is currently working on a novel and two children’s books.
Kay also teaches in the graduate program at the University of San Francisco, as well as working for the State of California coaching newly credentialed teachers. In her spare time Kay is a UC Certified Master Gardener and works as a volunteer at the UC Davis research garden in Half Moon Bay as well as school and community gardens in San Mateo County. Kay has a B.A. from San Jose State University, two Masters from San Francisco State University and a Doctorate in Curriculum Design from the University of San Francisco. Kay is very excited to be part of the PAAS community!
is a Palo Alto Adult School credentialed teacher with a Master's degree in English as a Second Language from San Francisco State University. Her Bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley is in Spanish literature. She has been teaching at the Palo Alto Adult School since 2003. As a first generation American with parents who immigrated from Greece, she is well aware of the challenges facing new adult immigrants in adjusting to a new culture, language, and various other social aspects of living in the U.S.
Her focus with her high beginning students is on all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. She also puts an emphasis on her learner's needs outside the classroom. This emphasis is to help students be able to function in basic English as it relates to their everyday lives. She has taught ESL for more than 15 years at the community college level (at Canada and at the College of San Mateo), and for nine years at the adult school level.
teaches fiction, poetry, and world literature.She shares her enthusiasm for literature with her students, and comes to class hoping that, as a community of learners, both students and teachers will inspire, encourage, and challenge one another.
She received her Masters in English from UC Davis, where she also taught creative writing, Renaissance literature, and Medieval literature. She also taught at the Communication Academy, JEI, Woodland Community College, and Foothill Community College. She also speaks Spanish and taught English in Costa Rica.
Palo Alto Adult School’s Birding Basics (i.e. Beginning Birding) instructor, has been teaching about birds and mammals since 1984, when she became a docent at the San Francisco Zoo. She has completed the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Home Study Course in Bird Biology. She also wrote and implemented a curriculum on birds for elementary students in the Portola Valley School District. Since she retired from Portola Valley in the Spring of 2000, she has taken birding classes at the Palo Alto Adult School. In addition to her birding classes, for a few years Anne wrote and presented slide shows about birds for adults and children at the Audubon Society and conducted birding tours for children. She has also written a book about local birds for young children called Let's Go Birding, You and Me.
Anne’s class at Palo Alto Adult School is consistently one of our more popular courses. She enjoys working closely with her adult students and letting them set their own pace.
an instructor in Drawing and Watercolor Techniques, has been an artist since childhood, drawing in the sand with sticks in her native Florida. Her love of nature and wild places, both in Florida and California, naturally caused her to pursue that love and capture it on paper to share with others. She studied art her whole life and received a BA from Florida State University in art and literature. Kay has continued her studies at Stanford and UC Santa Cruz, in addition to France and Mexico. She is both a painter and an instructor. Her work is shown locally and in Florida and is owned by art lovers across the country. Kay is a credentialed teacher in Florida and CA and teaches both adults and children. Her enthusiasm for practicing art – drawing and watercolor – carries over to her love of teaching it!
an instructor in Art and Design, got her start in interior design by rearranging the furniture at the homes of friends and family. She earned a BA at Stanford University and a certificate in Residential Interior Design from Cañada College. She is an Allied Member of the American Society of Interior Designers and received her training in Feng Shui from the Western School of Feng Shui . She started her design business, A Fresh Look, in 1991.
Kit has added art to her teaching repertoire: she has taken every art course offered at Foothill and De Anza Colleges as well as the Palo Alto Art Center and has been a self-taught collage, assemblage and altered book artist since 1990.
Kit has been an instructor at Palo Alto Adult School since 1993, where her hands-on teaching style inspires many students to return for her new course offerings. Her mission in life is to create beauty, order, and harmony an d to empower her students to do the same for themselves. Visit her websites, www.AFreshLook.net or http://www.found-object-art.com/ for more information.
Matthew Dodder, Palo Alto Adult School's Intermediate/Advanced Birding instructor since 1999, got his start as a birder at age 14 when he sprinkled birdseed on the snow after a heavy snowstorm and identified his very first Northern Cardinal. He has traveled around the world birding but says that his some of his most enjoyable birding experiences have been right here in the Bay Area. Matthew has been recognized for his work by both the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. He sits on the Board of Directors of Audubon.
Students find Matthew's class exciting because it tackles not only subtle identification challenges but also topics such as the evolution of migration, recent genetic research, habitat conservation, and the affects of climate change on birds. He says, "I love teaching this class! The advanced level means I am constantly studying the most recent developments in the bird world and presenting them to my students, each of whom share my passion for birds." Most of his students return year after year, and some have been with him from his very first year at PAAS. Visit his website at http://www.birdguy.net/.
a California credentialed teacher, has been a PAAS Computer Applications instructor since 1998. She learned to use computers while taking college courses and through on-the-job training as a travel counselor, and later as a technical writer at Sun Microsystems. Many of Ellen’s students have returned over the years to take more of her computer classes to update current skills by learning new and updated software available in the PAAS classroom. Ellen quickly gets to know her students’ computer needs and presents the material in a way that all levels of learners in the class are comfortable with the material and the pace of the class.
Ellen's students are job-seekers, beginners, and retirees who want to learn about computers, as well as those building on computer skills already mastered – all as part of their lifelong learning experience. In the unique PAAS environment, students learn with state-of-the-art computers and the latest software in a comfortable, well-maintained computer lab setting.
has been doing Zumba for more than 6 years and got her teaching certificate from Beto Perez, the creator of Zumba.She trains with Joe Valderrama and Adriana Carr who are the best of the best in Bay Area. She is also training as an athlete with Brian Nunez, creator of FNS and one of the coaches on The Biggest Looser TV show. She has a strong passion for Zumba and brings that passion and energy to all of her classes. She is also an active member of Zin (Zumba official network). You can review her profile on: www.zumba.com
has been offering Computer classes in Microsoft Excel at Palo Alto Adult School for seven years. She has 15 years of teaching experience in computer applications, and her students frequently return to continue improving their skills. She prepares her own class materials using her expert knowledge of Excel to tailor the class to be most useful in today’s workplace. Ruth notes that her most successful students are those who practice the material between class sessions.
She says: "I have been an executive assistant my entire career and fell in love with the way computers facilitated the workflow. I have attended computer application classes, partially self taught using manuals and online help, and I worked for several years in the SLAC Computer Department where I taught new employees how to use our mainframe computer. Because of my interest in keeping current with computer applications, I have been asked by two employers to teach classes to interested employees."
has been teaching Spanish at Palo Alto Adult School for 34 years. A native of México, she taught intensive Spanish to Americans in Guadalajara under the auspices of Stanford University before joining the faculty of Palo Alto Adult School. She holds a BA in Spanish from San José State University and is a member of Sigma Delta Pi (National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society).
Graciela has always loved teaching. She expects and receives the very highest level of achievement from her students, who present oral reports and do literary analysis of Spanish-language masterpieces. She conducts her class entirely in Spanish, and more than 80 percent of her students re-enroll in her classes.
Leonardo McCord Salazar
has taught the Spanish language for 33 years. He holds a B.A. in Spanish and French from U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. in Spanish from UCLA. He is a UC Regents' Scholar, a Peace Corps Volunteer, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Delta Pi (the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society), and Alpha Mu Gamma (the National Collegiate Foreign Language Honor Society).
Since he has studied nine languages at the University of California, he knows both the joys and the difficulties of learning a foreign language. Accordingly, he strives to make learning Spanish a worthwhile adventure for his students. He brings to each class a deep love of learning, a pan-Hispanic perspective, and a nonjudgmental attitude toward his students.
owner of Chaos Control® and Life Artistry®, inspires and guides clients in a lifestyle of choice. Since 1991 she has provided consulting, coaching, and motivational workshops on life and work priorities, values-based schedule planning and effective time management. Christine designs creative, customized solutions to streamline office systems that increase productivity and performance. She is regularly quoted by the press and has been featured on HGTV and nationwide news broadcasts. As an around-the-world traveler, she brings a global perspective to her work and life. Her e-newsletter and workshop schedule can be found on her web sites: www.chaos-control.com and www.lifeartistry.com
created her Culinary Interest Group in 1989. She turned her culinary interests into a professional career in 2005 and is a Cooking instructor at PAAS. Cindy coaches executives and staff in team building cooking exercises, teaches private cooking courses and runs a summer cooking camp for teens. In service to the community she has run a Meal Delivery Service for families in need and works at the Food Closet in downtown Palo Alto. Cindy's training includes coursework from Cordon Bleu and Marie Blanche in Paris and numerous schools in the San Francisco Bay Area.
our newest Jewelry instructor at Palo Alto Adult School, has more than four years experience in helping students develop the skills to realize their creative visions. She has taken classes with many nationally known jewelry instructors as well as developed her skills through experimentation and practice. She won first place in 2006 in a national competition, and she had three pieces featured in Quarry Books' 1001 Jewelry Inspirations (May 2008).
Randi says, "For over 15 years, creating jewelry has been a real passion for me. Working with a broad variety of techniques and materials, I create one-of-a-kind pieces that are inspired by nature and different cultures. I am drawn to the warmth and flow of metals, and my jewelry often reflects natural patterns and organic elements to achieve a unique look. In addition to creating jewelry, I find great joy and satisfaction in teaching." Visit her websites at http://www.randisamuels.com/ and http://www.studiodax.com/.
has been teaching ESL for ten years and loves it.The feedback she receives from her students makes her feel excited and pleased to teach. She loves to introduce new methods, books and materials to make her classes more exciting and fun.
Nilou has a BA in English and a clear credential in teaching English as a Second Language.
Dana St. George
has taught Low Intermediate ESL at Greendell School since 1998. We learn listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and have lots of conversation practice.
has been showing students how to create their own Bath and Body products since 2004. She has studied soap making at the College of San Mateo Community Education, and De Anza College Community Education, as well as taking classes from Lori Nova of Point Richmond's Nova Studio. Lori holds a BA in Mass Communication from Cal State East Bay, an AA degree in Communications from Foothill College, and an AA degree in Accounting and a Certificate in Marketing Management from DeAnza College. She contributes to her own blog, "Homemade Bath Products," at http://homemadebathproducts.blogspot.com on a daily basis. Lori won third place for her bath bomb muffins at the 2006 San Mateo County Fair.
She explains, "What I try to bring to my class is a social and fun learning experience. I make the projects simple to encourage the students to actually make the products at home." She also writes a bath and body products blog, http://homemadebathproducts.blogspot.com featuring notices of her upcoming classes, information on where to buy products, recipes, and more.
has been studying and practicing yoga since1977, first in London with Dr. Martin Underwood, whose style of yoga derived from study in Madras with TKV Desikachar. (For those interested in yoga history, both Desikachar and Iyengar learned yoga from Desikachar’s father T Krishnamacharia, who is credited with rekindling interest in hatha yoga in India in the early twentieth century.) Kamal has attended workshops with Desikachar and continued yoga here and in India with various teachers. She completed a teachers’ program at the Santa Cruz Institute of Yoga in Bombay, India, earning a yoga teaching certificate. She now studies regularly at YogaSource in Palo Alto and teaches Yoga at the Adult School and to students and staff at Paly High School.