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Meet Our Trainers

The Skills You Need to Succeed

We are fortunate to have a group of incredibly skilled volunteers who have led the charge in designing, refining, and enhancing our training curriculum over the years.  Together they pave the way, instill confidence and provide the teaching tools for the success of hundreds of volunteer tutors.

We invite you to meet our Volunteer Tutor Trainers.

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"After retiring, I missed the camaraderie and sense of purpose that I had enjoyed as a teacher. When I joined the Literacy Program, I found not only that but also a deep sense of personal satisfaction in working with my students."

Krissen Lane – Volunteer Lead Trainer

Krissen joined the Literacy Program in February 2005. Since then, she has tutored individually with several highly motivated students and two small classes in Watsonville. In addition to her tutoring, Krissen serves on the program's Advisory Committee and the Tutor Training Team, and she attends the Tutor Workshops for more inspiration. Krissen is a ProLiteracy certified trainer. Before she retired in 2004, Krissen taught elementary school for 27 years in the Live Oak and Scotts Valley school districts. As a primary grade teacher, she has extensive experience teaching phonics and comprehension strategies to developing readers, as well as developing curriculum and lesson planning. She finds it satisfying to be able to utilize her previous teaching skills along with new techniques for teaching adults that she has learned from the Literacy Program.

"I wanted to continue teaching and thought working with adult literacy would be challenging and interesting. I had no idea how rewarding and satisfying it would be. I have learned so much from my students about their lives, tradition, and their countries."

Carol Curlett – Volunteer Trainer

Carol began volunteering with the Literacy Program in January 2008. After enjoying tutoring for several months and realizing the value of our Literacy Program, she wanted to help involve more people by becoming a member of the Tutor Training Team. Carol has tutored individuals and classes in workplace literacy programs. She helped start a program for 12 students at a conference center in Felton and has tutored eight employees for two years at a Watsonville rest home. She finds small class settings are a wonderful way to teach several students at once. She also serves as the Mentor Coordinator, recruiting and assisting mentors for new tutors. Carol has taught elementary school in every grade from kindergarten through fifth. After 28 years of teaching, she retired in 2006. In her career, she worked as a master teacher for student teachers and as a new teacher mentor and trainer as well as a literacy coach for the Moreland School District.

"The Literacy Program has brought me the opportunity to get back into teaching ESL, which I find extremely fulfilling. In addition, I am able to use my life experience to serve as an ambassador of US culture and hopefully will smooth the way a bit for my students."

Rebecca Jot– Volunteer Trainer

Rebecca joined the Literacy Program in March 2011. She was paired with her wonderful student, Carol, in May 2011, and the two are still going strong. Prior to moving to Santa Cruz County in 1998 with her French husband and baby daughter, Rebecca taught English to adult professionals in Paris. She has more than 10,000 hours of classroom experience from her 10 years of living abroad. She earned both the CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) and the DELTA (Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults. Since her return to the US, Rebecca's main focus has been on raising her daughter and son. She has also volunteered in her children's elementary classrooms, tutored French, served on the board of the Rio Del Mar Parent Alliance fundraising group for three years and the Rio Del Mar Elementary Site Council for two years, and worked as a yard supervisor for Rio Del Mar. Rebecca enjoys cardio dance, reading about nutrition, plotting long sightseeing walks in new cities, and all things French.

“I completed my Master’s degree in linguistics thinking  I would travel the world teaching English.  But life took me in a different direction. Now that I’ve retired, I finally get to live my dream of teaching English as a Second Language to adults for the pleasure of engaging in the learning process.”

Claire Castagna – Volunteer Trainer

Claire joined the Literacy Program in 2014. She has tutored students at the beginning and early intermediate levels.  With an extensive background teaching second language learners and in providing professional development for teachers, Claire is very excited about joining the training team.

Before retiring from public education in June of 2014, Claire’s 36 years as an educator included being an elementary bilingual teacher and mentor teacher, principal, mentor principal and most recently assistant superintendent for instruction. She earned her Master’s degree in Linguistics as well as her TESOL Certificate from Cal State Long Beach. She also has a certificate of Competence in Bilingual Bicultural Education and teaching credentials in Elementary Multiple Subjects and Secondary Spanish.



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