Teachers 2017-04-28T11:00:04+00:00

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.

Brenda Rubio has recently joined the Adelante Charter School team as a Kindergarten teacher. 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 BA and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at CSU Channel Islands. She loves to create a classroom environment that promotes critical thinking, collaboration, and a positive learning. Through the students sense of community in the classroom, Maestra Rubio is looking forward to inspire students’ to a life long love of learning, just as her teachers did during her school years.

First Grade

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.

Leah Hendrickson teaches first grade here at Adelante Charter School. She learned her love for Spanish as a child growing up in Bogotá, Colombia. After earning her teaching credential and Masters in Education from the University of California, Davis she learned about Adelante from a friend and joined the staff  in August of 2010. She finds that her life has been blessed year after year by the loving families that make up the community of Adelante.   She is excited to see what the future holds for each of our bilingual, bi-literate, and multi-cultural students. Leah seeks to be a teacher who inspires hope, ignites creativity, sparks the imagination, and instills a love of learning in her students. She is married, has a daughter and is expecting her second child in the fall.

Second Grade

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.

TaniaTania 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.

Third Grade

Mrs. Ruiz Santillán is one of two third grade teachers at Adelante Charter School where she began her career. 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.  Her commitment to providing students with extraordinary learning experiences is evident in her planning of the annual overnight 3rd grade field trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium after an in-depth study of ocean habitats.   She is married and a mother. Along with spending time with her family she also enjoys teaching, traveling, cooking, staying active and creating photo albums to record those special moments in her life.   She quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson who stated; “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” 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 proud, well-rounded citizens of the world. ¡Sí se puede! Yes we can!

Elizabeth Silva is a third grade teacher. She was born and raised in Houston, Texas but lived in Mexico during her early elementary school years and immersed in the culture and in Spanish. When Ms. Silva was in the third grade, her family returned to the United States where she attended an English-only school. Through the years, she became aware of the value of bilingual education and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree and completed the bilingual education program at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Ms. Silva taught first and second grade in the Katy Independent School District for two years and then moved to Santa Barbara where she taught Spanish to K-6 students at Harding School before joining the staff here at Adelante. Ms. Silva is dedicated to supporting students so that they become proficient in both Spanish and English. She is committed to providing a learning environment where students can interact and where they are motivated and successful. A goal she has for her students is that they may become great problem-solvers in order to apply these skills and knowledge in and out of the classroom.

Fourth, Fifth & Sixth Grades

Julia Flores  is one of the fourth grade teachers at Adelante Charter School.   She received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and her Masters of Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to arriving in Santa Barbara 7 years ago, Ms. Flores lived in Gardena, Los Angeles County, where she was born. She is passionate about inspiring a love for learning and a love for life in her students and those around her. She values multiculturalism and believes that embracing it is the key to a more tolerant, prosperous and caring society. She believes in the power of parent-teacher communication and collaboration. Ms. Flores is committed to creating meaningful connections with each student in a way that supports their intellectual, social, and emotional well-being.

noid1y01236Luisa Barber is one of the fourth grade teachers at Adelante Charter School. She grew up in Carpinteria, California. She is a native Spanish speaker. This will be her first year teaching. 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!”

Paula Sevilla is a fifth grade teacher at Adelante Charter School. Her grandfather emigrated to the United States from México, and she grew up speaking only English at home. It wasn’t until she turned fourteen, when she began to work and study language in high school, that she started to learn Spanish. Once she began learning Spanish, she never wanted to stop learning more and more! She actually liked it so much that she moved to Latin America, where she was speaking Spanish everyday. After living in Latin America for six years, five in Guatemala and one in Mexico, Ms. Sevilla returned to her hometown and earned her teaching credential and Masters in Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Since finishing her studies, she says she is privileged to be part of the incredible community at Adelante. Ms. Sevilla says that it is a great blessing to be a part of her students’ learning during such a key time in their lives: when they are leaving childhood behind and becoming young people from here…en Adelante!

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 is the sixth grade teacher at Adelante Charter School with 11 years of teaching experience, the last three of which he has taught sixth grade. Mr. Macioce was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York and grew up in New Jersey. He studied German in high school, and lived for a year in Berlin, Germany. He started college at Hampshire College in Massachusetts and finished at UC Santa Cruz, graduating with a BA in Environmental Studies and a Masters in Teaching. Later he studied Spanish while teaching preschool in Ventura. He is married to Lauren Macioce with whom he has two daughters. Mr. Macioce believes in the power of two-way immersion as a vehicle for social justice and peace across cultural lines.  He is especially enthusiastic about inquiry-driven mathematics, hands-on environmental ocean science and infusing everyday teaching with technology. He strives to nurture students’ social-emotional intelligence, 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.

Physical Education

Lauren Macioce is the physical education teacher at Adelante and has been teaching PE for seven years. She also teaches with the Santa Barbara Dance Institute (SBDI) and teaches third and fourth grades as well as the after-school SWAT team classes. Mrs. Macioce 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. You will often find her teaching a Zumba class to parents in her free time. This year she will be coordinating a runners’ club during lunchtime recess and a capoeira club after school. Lauren is passionate about finding situations where students are naturally engaged and motivated while they challenge themselves to build their skills, agility, endurance, and great sportsmanship.

Art Teacher

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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 ORourke 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.

Music Teacher

 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 at St. Joseph’s, Sandra directed bilingual choirs, musicals and variety shows. Sandra is passionate about creating a positive learning environment revolving around Music Theory, Music Performance and Music History. Sandra’s family, consisting of her children, Emma and Mateo along with her husband Christian, feel fortunate for the opportunity of becoming a part of the ACS community.