CWLP Fellows

The California world language project (CWLP) is a collaborative, statewide network that sponsors year-round professional development programs for world languages educators intended to strengthen the teaching of languages and cultures in California. The project aims to involve every language teacher in supportive professional learning communities that foster excellence in language teaching, deepen content knowledge and pedagogical skills, and provide leadership development opportunities. CWLP continuously advocates for the retention, expansion and articulation of world language programs across all language levels, especially in the critical languages and cultures deemed to be essential for California students to contribute to and successfully interact in our linguistically and culturally diverse society.

The SAILN project offers year around Standard-based professional development (Strands A – D, Foundational to Leadership Workshops) opportunities for all language teachers including k- 16 public school teachers, heritage/community school teachers, after school program teachers, etc. to further develop their instructional teaching competencies. Furthermore, these professional development programs enable teachers to take on leadership roles in the classroom as well as at their school and at the district level. Upon completion of 120 hours of professional development in the SAILN Project Strands, teachers become CWLP Fellows, which empowers them to become SAILN Project interns, trainers, and future state level advocates.

Current Fellows

Click on a name to view more.

Alaa Arabic FellowDr. Alaa Gado Kana has been working with San Diego State University Research Foundation - LARC teaching Arabic MSA and Iraqi dialect since 2009. He participated in STARTALK summer teacher training program for years 2017 and 2018. Dr. Kana attended all the professional development workshops of SAILN (Southern Area International Language Network). In addition, Dr. Kana is an Arabic Professor at Grossmont-Cuyamaca College in world language department. He is also a certified ACTFL OPI tester and ACTFL WPT rater of Arabic from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Throughout his career, he taught at several universities in Iraq, Jordan, and the United States. Dr. Kana is also the author of five books and he published many research articles. For more information please view his website:
Aurélia Viard pictureI am Aurélia Viard, I grew-up in France and moved to San Diego in August 2016. This is when I decided to become a French Teacher. I got my teaching credential and a Master in Inspired Teaching and Learning in 2020. And, I now teach French at Scripps Ranch High School. Right after I finished my Student Teaching training, I heard about SAILN, and how great you were, so I decided to investigate, and I saw that you were about to start some professional development strands, so I enrolled in my first strand. What a shift in my perception on what teaching is since I attended the SAILN Strands. I am so grateful I had the chance to attend the SAILN Strands right at the beginning of my teaching career. SAILN team, you put me on the path to Teacher proficiency, and gave me the tools and knowledge that I needed to also put my students on the path to proficiency. I learned how to bring authenticity into my classroom by using the IPA assessment model, and I now have my students engaged in the 3 modes of communication while exploring authentic resources. It’s fun for my students and for me. Now that you put me on the path, my students and I are moving step by step toward proficiency. A long way is ahead but I am now on the right path. I will never be thankful enough. SAILN team you rock!

Claire Arias-Kassir pictureHi! I am Claire Arias-Kassir and I have been teaching for 20 plus years in the same district in San Diego, CA. My teaching experience has been at the high school level teaching English, ELD, Spanish for Spanish Speakers and Spanish. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Literature from the University of California in San Diego and a Master’s of Arts, Educational Leadership K-12 from San Diego State University.

Currently, I am an English Language Instructional Resource Teacher in San Diego. CA. I have participated in the development of the California Spanish Assessment (CSA 2016-19) and English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC 2016-19). The State Board of Education to the World Languages (WL) Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee (CFCC 2018-19) appointed me. I am a board member of the Foreign Language Council of San Diego. I love learning and make it a point to learn something new every day. It is my love for learning which led me to take part and complete the SAILN Strands. I have developed a deeper understanding of the World Languages Standards and World Languages Framework. The professors who teach the strands are very knowledgeable and supportive as we learned and planned lessons in the 3 modes of communication in service of communication and culture.

Claudia Mancilla Koch pictureClaudia is in her 15th year teaching. She is currently teaching 7th and 8th grade Spanish for Speakers. Claudia has taught K, 1, 2 and New Arrival Center (grades 6-12). As a teacher of Spanish, I have gained knowledge of the new World Language standards and how to implement them in my teaching. Taking the SAILN strands has given me the opportunity to meet and network with other World Language professionals. Through the strands I have also gained the knowledge to be a materials reviewer for possible state adopted WL materials.
Cristal PictureCristal Herrera has been a K-8 teacher since 2001. In 2000, she graduated from U.C. Davis with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. She taught at San Diego Unified from 2001-2010 in the Logan Heights neighborhood focusing on providing English language development support to her students. In 2010, Cristal was hired as a Spanish Immersion teacher at Riverview Elementary in Lakeside. During this time she pursued her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership with an Emphasis in Technology, along with a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential, through San Diego State University. Cristal is now a Spanish Immersion and ELD teacher at Tierra del Sol Middle School. Cristal became a CWLP fellow in the Spring of 2020.
Devia PantMy name is Devia Pant and I am an ELA Online tutor since more than a decade. I have students all across Irvine, the rest of the country and abroad. I was born in New Delhi, India and moved to the US in 2002. After moving across the length and the breadth of this amazing country, I now live in Irvine, CA with my husband and two sons. I am blessed to have a career spanning many states and a few countries, all from the comfortable confines of my home. I enjoy teaching because as educators we are able to, in our own humble way, mold the future of humanity. The SAILN strands have helped me as a professional since they have given me a much valued structure towards lesson planning and implementation. Being taught research based core elements by experienced and driven SAILN instructors, I have been able to focus on the fundamental and advanced level concepts which can strengthen a child’s Reading Comprehension, Writing, Vocabulary & Grammar not only in Hindi but also in ELA. I am privileged to be a part of such a dedicated and hardworking team of instructors and fellow students.
mariana imageMariana Apalategui 20+ years teaching experience in Spanish and English as a Second Language. Mariana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from San Diego State University and a Master’s of Art in Spanish Linguistics from the San Diego State University. During her graduate course work, she traveled to Spain, where she taught ESL and took graduate courses in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language at the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares. She currently teaches Spanish at Point Loma Nazarene University in Point Loma, CA.
Olga Sukhanova is an experienced language instructor with Master’s degrees in Applied Linguistics and English. Olga’s areas of expertise include language teaching, course material development, and online teaching. Her teaching philosophy consists mainly of three components. She places importance on student motivation, regards professional development as the cornerstone of the teaching profession, and believes in innovation. Becoming a SAILN Fellow is Olga’s latest accomplishment in the professional development area. She chose the SAILN Strands as a great opportunity to learn from the amazing instructors and presenters, sharpen the teaching skills, and collaborate with colleagues to further improve the language teaching field.
Rana Al-Azzeh photoRana Al-Azzeh grew up in Jordan where she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Jordan. Upon moving to the United States, she became interested in the Montessori methodology, so she enrolled in the AMI certification program and successfully completed the AMI Primary training from MISD (Montessori Institute of San Diego) in 2014. After that, she completed the master’s degree requirements from Loyola University Maryland and received a Master of Education Degree (M.Ed.). She started working at Kinderhouse Montessori school teaching in primary and lower elementary classes, where she worked for four years before moving to Le Port Montessori school where she taught for three years working with the same age group. Then she moved to Cuyamaca college to work with an older age group. She chose the SAILN strands to learn from distinguished and experienced presenters, to strengthen her teaching skills, and to improve the language teaching field. The strands helped her to better understand the ACTFL standards, the California world language standards, and to develop and assess the different modes of communication (interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational). It also helped her better understand different concepts like the backward design. Implementing and integrating the technology in the reading unit was one of the important things that she implemented in her classroom. She was really delighted to have this opportunity to work with all the amazing instructors and colleagues to further improve and develop her skills in the teaching field.
Robin Newsom-WuertzFounder of Creative ASL Teaching blog and an #aslteacherchat moderator has 20+ years teaching experience in ASL. Robin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Deaf Studies from California State University Northridge and a Master’s of Science in School Counseling from the University of LaVerne. She teaches ASL and Physical Education at Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA. Robin is a workshop presenter in ASL curriculum, standards, and second language acquisition. Robin also works as a consultant to help other schools in her area establish and maintain thriving ASL programs. She is a new teacher mentor, a Fellow in the California World Language Project, and the world language department chair at her school site. Her passion is to support ASL teachers in their journey to become creative innovators and leaders in the field of World Language instruction.

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