Dr. Rebecca Sapien-Melchor

Site Director

5500 Campanile Dr. SH 204
San Diego, CA. 92182

The site director has the responsibility to oversee day-to-day programs, manage the project’s financial transactions, and have overall responsibility for the implementation of the work plan for the project. She serves as program developer for the joint CSMP ELD Institute, project Summer ELD Academy, and Native/Heritage Spanish Speaker Programs. Dr. Rebecca Sapien-Melchor is currently the site director of the Southern Area International Languages Network (SAILN), San Diego State University a California Foreign Language Project for Region 9A and 9B. She has recently retired as the English Language Development and Foreign Language, Curriculum Coordinator in the English Learner and Support Services Unit for 19 years. Dr. Sapien-Melchor has 33 years of experience in the education of students with special needs and second language acquisition. She was named the 1978 CABE Teacher of the Year and the recipient of the 1996 Foreign Language Council of San Diego, Outstanding Foreign Language Service Award in recognition of her distinguished and devoted service to the foreign language profession.

Principal Investigators

Dr. Alberto M. Ochoa


Academically, Alberto M. Ochoa received B.A. Degrees from California State University in Sociology and Latin American Studies (1968 & 1969), MA Degree from University of Southern California in Special Education (1971), and doctorate degree from the University of Massachusetts in Non-formal & International Education (1978) with an emphasis in community development.

Dr. Alberto M. Ochoa is a faculty member in the College of Education at SDSU, with the rank of full Professor Emeritus. He began his academic work at SDSU in 1975. He has served as Chair of the Policy Studies in Language and Cross-cultural Studies Department (PLC) at San Diego State University for over 15 years. He also served as the Academic Director of the Joint Doctoral Program between Claremont University and SDSU (1999-2005). In the PLC Department, he has been responsible for the implementation and evaluation of the bilingual teacher education programs at the elementary and secondary levels. At SDSU he has maintained an active record of professional development, grant writing and service to the community. His academic work is action research based, while combining theory and practice in the resolution of equity problems confronting social and educational institutions. He seeks the challenge of participating in community and institutional development programs/projects that have as their goal to promote democratic schooling and broad based community participation in the decisions that affect the quality of life of school communities–in both domestic and international settings.

His research interests, with over 70 publications, document his work in the areas of public equity, school desegregation, language policy, critical pedagogy, student achievement, and parental leadership. In the last ten years, he has also been involved in developing processes for community capacity building, as well as forecasting the educational needs of school districts through demographic trends, socio-political conditions, and educational reform trends. Since 1981, he has co-chaired over 60 doctoral dissertations in the Joint Claremont Graduate University/San Diego State University Doctoral Program and been a member of another 30 doctoral committees.

Work with K-12 schools, since 1975, he has worked with over 60 K-12 school districts in California in providing technical assistance in the areas of: (1) language policy and assessment, (2) bilingual instructional programs, (3) curriculum programming, (4) staff development, (5) community development, (6) organizational development and school climate, (7) program management and evaluation, and (8) parent leadership. His work with public schools also covers involvement in International programs in the United Sates, Mexico, Spain and China.

Under funded grants and projects, he has received over 11 million dollars in grants and contracts from the federal, state and local educational agencies from 1975 to present in the areas of National Origin Desegregation, Professional Development in Bilingual Capacity Building, Immigrant Education, California Reading and Literature Projects, Language Development, Parent Leadership Education, and Bilingual-Special Education Teacher Development.

Dr. Mary Ann Lyman-Hager

LARC Director

Mary Ann Lyman-Hager has served as the Director of the National Language Resource Center at San Diego State University and as Professor of French at San Diego State University since 1997. She is interested in exploring teaching blended language and area studies courses, particularly in the less commonly taught languages, across the CSU system using advanced educational technologies, and in assessing large scale programs.

Tier Leaders

Mike McVeigh

San Diego, CA. 92115

My experiences with Spanish began as a ninth grader back in Delaware. All students were expected to choose a second language course, and when faced with a decision between Spanish, French, German, or Italian, I chose Spanish. Seventeen years later, I am still enjoying every minute in a Spanish classroom, just from the other side of the desk! I love what I do and I look forward to sharing my enthusiasm and experiences with my students.

Although I am a native east-coaster, I have been enjoying myself in San Diego for the past five years. In my free time, you can usually find me behind a camera exploring the many natural wonders of our area. I also enjoy traveling, sailing, and spending time with my family and friends. If you can’t call or text me, I am either hiking or spending time with my nephew Joey. My travels have taken me through the US, Canada, England, Ireland, Spain, Argentina, and Brazil.

Shahnaz Ahmadeian


Persian Instructor and Coordinator
5500 Campanile Dr. SH-209D
San Diego, CA. 92182

Shahnaz is Farsi/Persian instructor, coordinator and curriculum developer; she is also STARTALK Programs Co-Director at Language Acquisition Resource Center at San Diego State University. She has authored two books for Persian Beginner and Intermediate level. Shahnaz has a Master’s Degree in Policy Studies in Language and Cross Cultural Education. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Doctoral Program in Education offered jointly by San Diego State University and Claremont Graduate University. She has been teaching intensive Persian Language courses at SDSU through LARC during the summer and Persian online and regular semester courses through Linguistic. Shahnaz directed and co-directed the Persian STARTALK Camp for three years and has been the lead instructor for Advanced level since 2008. She presented in many conferences including STARTALK and CLTA conferences. She has been teaching Persian to 1st and 2nd graders at Persian heritage school since 2002, and co-authored two books for Heritage beginners 1 and 2. Shahnaz is a fellow of the California World Language Project (CWLP) and has been the lead facilitator for Tier II Southern Area International Language Network (SAILN), a Division of California Foreign Language Project (CFLP) since fall 2011. She also leads the Persian Community of Practice since 2011.

Noha Ireiqat


San Diego, CA.

Noha Ireiqat graduated from Kuwait University with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a minor in Translation. She earned a Master’s Degree in the Arts of Teaching with an emphasis on education from National University in San Diego.

Noha has been teaching the Arabic and English languages for more than sixteen years in different schools in the United States and overseas. She has been working with the Language Acquisition Resource Center (LARC) at San Diego State University (SDSU) for eight years. She was the instructor for several Arabic courses and developed four Arabic units of instruction that are taught at SDSU for advanced Arabic Language classes. She was also the Director of the After School Arabic Program with LARC, SDSU where she supervised the Arabic teachers. Noha participated in the Bilingual Methodology Validity Study Advisory Panel for the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) Program, and she participated in the Arabic subject matter advisory panel at the Item Review Conference with the National Evaluation System. Recently, Noha finished creating twenty learning objects for LARC, SDSU and the Arabic curriculum for secondary school with SDUSD.

Currently, Noha is the team leader for the Arabic CAST program with LARC, SDSU. She teaches intensive Arabic Language courses at SDSU through LARC during the summer. She is also working as the Arabic Language Program Director at Carver Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District. She is the Professional Expert/Coordinator for Arabic Language with the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD). She is a Tier Leader with Southern Area International Language Network (SAILN), a Division of California Foreign Language Project (CFLP) at LARC, SDSU. Noha presented several workshops at different districts in San Diego giving the teachers an overview of the Arabic Language and Islam in order to communicate with Middle Eastern students in general and Muslim students in particular. She also has presented three times at the CLTA Conference.

Noha is Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) certified with the American Council of Teaching Foreign Language (ACTFL). She is a member of The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and a member with the California Language Teachers Association (CLTA). Noha is also a fellow with the California Foreign Language Project (CFLP). She received the 2011 Outstanding Service Award for the Foreign Language Council of San Diego.

Noha is in her second year as an Educational Leadership and Management doctoral candidate at Alliant International University.


Professional Developers

Farid Saydee


Dari-Pashtu Program Director

5500 Campanile Dr. SH 209B
San Diego, CA. 92182

Farid is a native of Afghanistan and is a multilingual speaker of Dari, Farsi, English, Pashto, and Urdu. He is currently the Director and the Lead Instructor of the Afghan Language & Culture Program at the Language Acquisition Resource Center (LARC) at San Diego State University (SDSU). His extensive teaching experience includes curriculum development and in-depth faculty expertise in teaching elementary and intermediate/advanced Pashto and Dari courses.

Mr. Saydee is a fellow of the California Foreign Language Project (CFLP). As a team member of the Southern Area international Languages Network (SAILN), he conducts training on curriculum development, instruction and teaching methodology. In addition, he is a certified Dari and Pashto Languages tester for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

Mr. Saydee has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, and he is currently a Ph.D. student in the Doctoral Program in Education offered jointly by San Diego State University and Claremont Graduate University.

Paula Meyer

Paula is a former bilingual teacher who has initiated and developed a wide variety of language programs in both public and private venues and at all levels of education, from elementary through university, including secondary two-way bilingual immersion and community indigenous-language revitalization. In addition to facilitating teachers’ knowledge of language learning, she has taught English as a foreign language in Mexico and as a second language in the US, as well as Spanish as a foreign and second language. Her research has included language structure and use, language learning and acquisition, bilingual education, two-way bilingual immersion, and the maintenance and revitalization of minority and endangered languages. Paula is active in promoting language teaching in public education and mentoring language-minority students and their teachers. She is pleased to be a part of SAILN and to have the opportunity to work with its diverse community of language educators.

Alan Svidal

Tel: (619) 725-7272

Alan Svidal began teaching in San Diego Unified School district in 1967. He has degrees in both History and French and has taught both content courses in his tenure as a middle and high school teacher. Alan has served often as department chair in both content areas and is currently the resource specialist for world languages, San Diego Unified School District, Office of Language Acquisition. During his time as district resource specialist, he was instrumental in the development of district world language standards, numerous textbook adoptions and the establishment of an on going partnership between SDUSD and the California Foreign Language Project/ San Diego of which he has been a team member since 1990. He is currently overseeing the development of world language curricula for levels one through three for SDUSD. Alan has served on various state committees and is the recipient of both the CLTA Outstanding Teacher Award and the Hal Wingard Lifetime Achievement Award.

Deana Alonso

Southwestern College
Tel: (619) 421-6700 ext. 5571

Deana Alonso-Post was born and raised in Mexico City. After graduating from High School and studying for a year at the Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM) her family moved to The United States. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mathematics and two Master’s Degrees: one in Spanish, with emphasis on Linguistics from San Diego State University and the other one in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from California State University, Los Angeles. She served for four years as consultant and teacher leader at the Los Angeles Area Site of the California Foreign Language Project (LASTARS) before becoming part of the team in San Diego (Southern Area International Language Network) where is presently a trainer and a consultant.

In addition, Deana has written several textbooks: a textbook of Spanish for Spanish Speakers (Entre mundos, 1996, 2004) and the Workbook to Accompany Entre Mundos 2nd Ed. Both books published by Prentice Hall and an introductory level college Spanish textbook (Invitaciones, 2004) for Vista Higher Learning. She is also a frequent presenter at ACTFL and CLTA.

She has been teaching Spanish for eighteen years, the last thirteen at Southwestern College where she was honored with the Board of Trustees Teaching Excellence Award in 2005. Deana is presently the president of the Foreign Language Council of San Diego. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Latin America.

Norman Léonard

LARC Liaison


A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Norman has been a teacher of English as a Second Language, French, Russian and Spanish during 25 years of teaching and briefly served as a principal to open a new school. During his career he also trained teachers as a mentor teacher, workshop presenter, and supervisor of novice teachers. After retirement, the Language Acquisition Resource Center of San Diego State University hired Norman to serve as Director of Outreach. He represents LARC in the Partnerships in Education Program of the San Diego Unified School District and individual schools, and reaches out to other departments within the University, other universities, community groups and professional organizations. He is past-president of the Foreign Language Council of San Diego, the current President of the California Language Teachers Association, and a Fellow of the California Foreign Language Project. He helps community-based heritage speakers open community-based language schools for less commonly taught languages and coordinates professional development programs for their teachers.
He also serves as Co-Director for LARC’s STARTalk Persian and Turkish summer camps.


Gail Saucedo

Coronado Middle School/retired

Gail Saucedo is a Fellow of the California Foreign Language Project. As a team member of the Southern Area International Languages Network (SAILN) she provides administrative support to the project and is a presenter for Tier III, the ACTFL Reading Proficiency Guidelines. A retired educator, Gail has close to 40 years experience as a high school,middle school, and adult school instructor of Spanish, French, English,ESL, and Basic Education. Gail began her career with the Peace Corps, teaching English as a Foreign Language in French-speaking East Cameroun in Africa. A graduate of Northwestern University, Gail studied French in Quebec and Spanish in Mexico City. She has lived and traveled throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Western Europe.
Gail is past president and vice-president of the Foreign Language Council of San Diego (FLCSD), an affiliate of the California Language Teachers Association (CLTA). In those capacities she served as a representative to the CLTA board and contributed to the Futures Committee of CLTA. She is a member of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).
During her career Gail has been a mentor teacher, a BTSA support provider, and department chair. She has presented at CLTA conferences and has been an organizer of local conferences for FLCSD and state conferences for CLTA and CATESOL. She has received the FLCSD Outstanding Service Award, the CLTA Outstanding Teacher Award, and Recognition of Service to CATESOL.

Joan Woods-Petties

Scripps Ranch High School
Tel: (858) 621-9020 ext. 2253

With a BA from San Diego State University and an MS from United States International University in Education and Humanistic Behavior taught for nineteen years at a magnet school teaching Spanish, Bilingual Social Studies and Physical Education. She then spent twelve years as a district resource teacher for foreign languages providing inservice to over thirty schools, developing curriculum, and supervising student study stay programs in Mexico. She has been Department Chair at her first school and now in her current assignment at Scripps Ranch High School where she teaches AP Spanish. She has been a mentor teacher and a curriculum committee member for San Diego Unified School District. Joan is a member of FLCSD and CLTA, and has presented at conferences for both organizations and for the National Academy Foundation and AVID. She is a member of AATSP.

Rosalina V. Idos

Morse High School
Tel: (619) 262-0763

A teacher, curriculum writer, teacher trainer, workshop presenter, community activist, Rosalina V. Idos, has been teaching for more than 40 years. She teaches at Morse High School of the San Diego Unified School District where she pioneered the teaching of Filipino Language. She also teaches at Alliant International University College of Education. She was a mentor teacher and a university professor prior to her coming to the United States. As a teacher, she involves her students in learning activities inside and outside the classroom. As a curriculum writer, she has developed a four-year curriculum for the Filipino language classes, the fourth year of which is an Honors Class recognized in the UC system. As a community activist, she and a small group of teachers started the Council for Teaching Filipino Language and Culture (CTFLC), an organization which promotes the study of Filipino language and Cuture.

She has worked with a group of World Language teachers in the development of the SD school district’s Standards for Foreign Language Teaching; with the Language Acquisition Resource Center (LARC) of SDSU in the creation of Filipino Online Placement Test; with UCSD, UCLA, UC Berkeley in the writing of Curriculum Units on the Web for Filipino Heritage Learners; with Alliant International University in the development of the Filipino Credentialing Program. As a teacher trainer and workshop presenter she gives professional training to foreign language teachers. She is a Fellow of the California Foreign Language Project (CFLP) and a member of the Leadership Team of the Southern Area International Languages Network (SAILN). As community activist, she helped in the passage of AB420 with her testimony in the Sacramento on the importance of the teaching of Filipino. She is a Director of Filipino-American Educators Association of San Diego County (FILAMEDA) and the current President of the Council for Teaching Filipino Language and Culture (CTFLC). Rosalina is a recipient of various awards and recognition. The two latest awards are the 2006 Distinguished Achievement Award given by her Alma Mater the University of the East of the Philippines, where she graduated as a Magna cum Laude; the California Outstanding Teacher Award for 2007.