Meet Our AESL Faculty!Estella Castillo-Garrison, Ed.D
Dean of Community Education, Emeritus Institute, and K-12 Partnerships
Dr. Estella Castillo-Garrison is responsible for bringing non-credit and not-for-credit high-quality learning opportunities to people of all ages throughout the South Orange County community. She has more than 11 years of program development and management experience at the community college level. She recently directed the launch of Saddleback’s new Adult Education Department, transitioning Adult Education English as a Second Language, Citizenship, Career Technical Education, High School Equivalency and other adult-directed programs from the College’s partner K-12 districts. Dr. Castillo-Garrison's professional background includes work within the K-12 system, as well as community and four-year colleges and universities. She has taught courses in Participatory Action Research and Communication/Information and Scholarly Writing in the Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy Doctoral Program at Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Education and Psychology. She has also taught undergraduate courses in Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Castillo-Garrison has extensive experience working with diverse populations as she served active duty military personnel and their family members on the Camp Pendleton Marine Base.
AESL Faculty Coordinator, ESL Faculty
Annie Gilbert earned a master’s degree in Second Language Education from McGill University, Montreal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in teaching French as a Second Language and a Certificate in Teaching ESL from Universite du Quebec a Montreal. She earned an Associate Degree in Social Studies at College Ahuntsic, also in Montreal. In addition to her role as AESL Faculty Coordinator, Annie is currently an ESL faculty tutorial specialist at Saddleback College and recently spearheaded the AESL tutoring program. She also teaches credit and non-credit ESL on Saddleback's main campus. Annie previously taught ESL at the School of Continuing Education, Cypress Campus, and the University of California, Irvine Extension. She has authored a TEFL manual and has been a TEFL teacher trainer.
Giancarlos Alvarado earned an associate’s degree in Music from Mercer County Community College, a bachelor’s degree in in History from Rutgers University, master’s degrees in Teaching English as a Second Language and Educational Leadership from The College of New Jersey, and a master’s degree in E-Learning and Education Technology from Northcentral University. He currently is working on a doctorate in Organizational Leadership at Grand Canyon University. In addition to teaching AESL at Saddleback, Giancarlos also teaches 7th and 8th grade U.S and World History with Green Dot Public Schools in Los Angeles. He also has taught high school ESL and Bilingual Social Studies in New Jersey, as well as Developmental English at Mercer County Community College and English as a Foreign Language at Rider University.
Joy Andre has more than 35 years of experience teaching ESL and Citizenship. Joy earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Music from Pepperdine University and completed additional graduate work at Pepperdine, the University of Hawaii, and UCLA. Joy was awarded a Coe Fellowship from the Close Up Foundation to attend a Government Studies program in Washington, D.C. She received a Bilingual Certificate of Competence in Culture, Methodology and Spanish, and qualified for a Clear Language Development Specialist Certificate from the State of California. Before moving to Orange County, she taught in the Adult Education Division for the Los Angeles Unified School District, and served as ESL Department Chairperson while at San Pedro Adult School. She provided direction, support, and assistance to the ESL faculty and also participated in the Federal Amnesty program, preparing students to apply for Citizenship. After moving to Orange County, Joy taught an ESL class at Chapman University for Japanese Exchange students, followed by 22 years teaching ESL and Citizenship classes at the Saddleback Valley Unified School District. She has developed several English grammar apps, for Android phones, to help students drill and practice their skills.
Chrissy Bird earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminology from the University of Nevada and a Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from National University. In Summer 2016, she earned her master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Southeast Missouri State College. Before joining the Saddleback Adult Education faculty, she taught ESL to adults for the Capistrano Valley Unified School District at Las Palmas Elementary School in San Clemente. She has been a multiple-subject teacher (grades 5 and 6) with the Garden Grove Elementary School District for four years and also has been an ESL volunteer and tutor for schools and communities in Missouri and California.
Janine Black earned a master’s degree in Education with concentration in TESOL at California State University, Fullerton. She also holds a Part-time Designated Subjects Adult Education Credential in ESL from California State University, San Bernardino, and a Certificate in TESL from the University of California, Irvine. Janine earned a bachelor’s degree in French at Michigan State University and a Diploma in French Studies at Institut de Touraine, in Tours, France. She teaches non-credit ESL for both South Orange County and Rancho Santiago Community College Districts. In addition, she has taught U.S. Citizenship and ESL, as well as Adult Education ESL, at several colleges and organizations over the past 15 years.
Kelley Bogusiewicz earned a bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential (CLAD) from National University, Vista. Before joining the Saddleback Adult Education faculty, she taught ESL classes in the Adult Program with the Capistrano Unified School District for 13 years. Kelley also has been a K-12 substitute teacher for the Capistrano Unified School District and the Laguna Beach Unified School District.
Mircea Bumbesti earned a master’s degree in English and Comparative Literature from California State University Fullerton and a master’s degree in French from the University of California, Irvine. Mr. Bumbesti also earned a master’s degree in Film from American University and a bachelor’s degree in Humanities in the International Affairs at Georgetown University. In addition to his extensive educational background, he has studied TESOL at California State University, Fullerton and has taught ESL at all levels for more than 10 years at California English Program, Garden Grove, and Saddleback College.
Elizabeth Busick completed her bachelor's degree at U.C. Davis and her master's degree at California State University, Sacramento. She has taught Citizenship, English, History, and ESL for many years, and strives to give all of her students a great learning experience. She relates to her students as her mother was an immigrant from Sweden, and Elizabeth lived in Sweden for a year when she was seven. She enjoys learning from her students about their different cultural backgrounds. When not teaching, Elizabeth volunteers at the Mission Viejo Library Bookstore and at the Mission Viejo Community & Senior Center. She is President of the Friends of the Mission Viejo Library Board of Directors, a Senior Assembly Member of the California Senior Legislature, and is on the Executive Committee of the California Senior Leaders Alliance as well as other committees. Elizabeth has traveled throughout Western Europe, Greece, Turkey, Thailand, China, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, South Viet Nam, Mexico, Canada, and the USA. Her next adventure will take her to South Africa.
Tara Cunningham earned an associate’s degree in Diversified Liberal Arts from the University of San Diego, and an associate’s degree, as well as CLAD and CLEAR Multiple Subject Credentials, from California State University, Long Beach. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Diversified Liberal Arts from the University of San Diego. In addition to teaching AESL at Saddleback Adult Education, Tara currently teaches elementary school in the Tustin Unified School District and is a pre-school/pre-kindergarten teacher with Present Creators Corner Preschool in Tustin. She also has served as an Early Literacy Consultant and Trainer with the Orange County Commission of Children and Families.
Denise Cuthbertson earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California State University, Long Beach, and a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. She also holds a TESOL (Teaching English To Speakers Of Other Languages) Certificate from the University of California, Irvine Extension, as well as a California Clear Single Subject Credential. She is an experienced teacher of mono-lingual speaking adult students. Before joining Saddleback's AESL faculty, Denise taught ESL classes in the Capistrano Unified School District’s Adult Education Program and was a member of their ESL Curriculum Development Committee for the past 13 years.
Kimberly Futami earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing Communications from Babson College, a master’s degree in Education/Reading from California State University, Fullerton, and a Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from the Los Angeles Unified School District Intern Program. Before joining the Saddleback AESL faculty, she taught ESL classes for Capistrano Unified School District’s Adult Education Program since 2005. Kimberly also instructs teacher candidates in language arts and Instruction for English Learners courses for California State University, Fullerton, and is an online instructor for the University of Phoenix.
Sara Gordon earned a bachelor’s degree in History from Santa Clara University, a Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Concordia University, and a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Grand Canyon University. Before joining Saddleback AESL faculty she was an ESL teacher in the Adult Education Program with the Saddleback Valley Unified School District (SVUSD) and the Irvine Unified School District, as well as an ESL Administrator for the Laborers Training School in Azusa, CA. Sara also has taught elementary school for the SVUSD and Aliso Viejo Christian School.
Gretchen Hinman earned a bachelor's degree in Education from Southern California College, Costa Mesa, and a Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Long Beach State University. Before joining the Saddleback AESL faculty, Gretchen held non-credit Adult Education teaching positions for the past 18 years at Saddleback Valley Unified and Capistrano Valley Unified school districts, teaching ESL, EDL, and Citizenship classes.
Song Hong earned a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in TESOL from Azusa Pacific University. She also attended Rio Hondo Community College. In addition to teaching AESL at Saddleback College, Song currently teaches ESL and art classes and designs ESL programming and assessment and art curriculum at Trinity Christian Schools in Garden Grove.
Jill Ibbotson earned a bachelor of science degree in Education from the University of Connecticut and holds a Clear Multiple Subject Teaching credential and CLAD certificate. Jill developed the initial AESL curriculum for Saddleback College's new Adult Education program in 2015. Prior to joining the faculty at Saddleback College, she worked at Capistrano Adult School, where she has taught ESL/Citizenship since 1998 and has been an ESL and Citizenship Coordinate since 2010, Jill worked at Hoover Elementary School. She also taught pre-school through 2nd grade students at the Village Montessori School in Irvine.
Alexandra Inman-Olinger earned a master’s degree in Education with TESOL emphasis at California State University, Fullerton, where she also holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in art with an emphasis in illustration. She brings to Saddleback College AESL more than 15 years’ experience as an ESL instructor at Pasadena College, Concordia University, and Santa Ana College where she also taught ESL and TOEFL preparation to international college students. Ms. Inman-Olinger also taught English in South Korea for two years before joining the high school and adult school teaching staff at Saddleback Valley Unified School District.
Brian Lively earned an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Mount San Antonio College, a Bachelor of Science degree in Major Marketing Management from Cal Poly, Pomona, and a Master of Business Administration degree from California State University, Long Beach. He also holds a Clear Multiple Subject Teaching credential, as well as a Certificate of Completion of Staff Development, authorizing Brian to provide services to English learners. Before joining the Saddleback College AESL faculty, Brian taught ESL classes for the Saddleback Valley and Capistrano Unified School Districts. He also has taught ESL classes for Mount San Antonio College and the Irvine Valley Unified School District.
Chelsea Lo earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in English (with a concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from San Francisco State University. Before joining Saddleback College's AESL faculty, she has been an ESL instructor for City College of San Francisco, the American Language Institute at San Francisco State University, the University of California Berkeley Extension and the University of California Irvine Extension.
Jianhua Lu earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the Beijing Foreign Language University and a master’s degree in English/Reading from Southwest Missouri State University, as well as an Adult Education Teaching Credential. Before joining Saddleback Adult Education, Jenny taught English as a Second Language for the Adult Education Program at the Capistrano Unified School District for 15 years.
Wendy Marcot has taught for 18 years in cross-cultural classrooms, including elementary, adult English as a Second Language, Parenting and Adult Basic Education math and language arts. She earned a Master’s in Education degree from Hope International University in Fullerton, California and a Bachelor’s in Human Services from California State University Fullerton. She also holds a Clear Multiple Subject teaching credential and Cross-cultural Language Acquisition Development certification.
Donna Pfeiler earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in French and Economics from the University of California, Irvine, as well as a Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a Clear Bilingual Certificate of Competence. An experienced English and multi-level ESL teacher, before transitioning to Saddleback Adult Education, she worked with the Saddleback Valley Unified School District’s Services For English Learners Department teaching ESL adult classes.
Janet Signo-Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree in Health Science from California State University, Long Beach, and a Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development Credential (CLAD) and graduate course work at the University of San Diego. Before joining the Saddleback AESL faculty, she taught ESL classes for 15 years at the Saddleback Valley and Capistrano Unified School Districts.
Debra Skaron earned a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art and a Multi Subject Clear Teaching Credential from the University of California, Irvine (UCI). In addition, she holds a TESOL Certificate from UCI extension. She brings more than 16 years of ESL teaching experience to Saddleback Adult Education. She has been teaching non-credit ESL classes to Spanish speakers at Santiago Canyon Community College and ESL to students from a variety of language backgrounds at Capistrano Unified School District. Debra has also worked with students preparing to earn their GED.
Kathryn Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and an Adult Teaching credential from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC). Before transitioning to Saddleback Adult Education, she taught ESL classes in the Adult Program with the Capistrano Unified School District since 2001. Kathryn also has taught English classes for Berlitz International in Costa Mesa and English Solutions in Newport Beach.
Nancy Sommerville joined the Saddleback College faculty in August of 2015. She has also worked for the Capistrano Adult School for the past 12 years and the Saddleback Unified School District teaching ESL and classes for older adults. She received her bachelor's degree from National University and her ESL full-time credential at the University of San Diego. In previous years, she worked for the Orange County Sheriff's Department as a Crime Prevention Specialist, and as secretary to the commander at the James A Musick Branch Jail in Irvine. She has attended numerous seminars and training for AESL along with computer training related to the job of ESL teacher. This fall, Nancy will teach AESL 703 - Beginning High at Saddleback Adult Education SJC from 6 to 9:05 p.m. Nancy will also be working in the SAE-SJC Tutoring Center on Tuesdays, from 4 to 6 p.m.
Deborah Staley earned a bachelor’s degree in History from Lake Forest College in Illinois and also has 20 additional units in Education from the University of Illinois, Urbana. She has a California Teaching Credential and a CLAD certification as well as single subject California teaching credentials in English and Social Science. Before joining the Saddleback College AESL faculty, Debra taught ESL in China and at Capistrano Adult School for more than 14 years. In addition, she has taught all subjects in High School Diploma programs at CUSD and at Mission Hospital. Deborah also served as Coordinator of the Capistrano Adult School’s family literacy program from 2005-2007.
Meredith Thomas studied Biology at San Diego State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science Education from San Francisco State University. She also holds a Clear Designated Subjects Adult Education Teaching Credential (full time for English as a Second Language). Before transitioning to Saddleback College AESL, for the past 15 years Meredith taught ESL classes in the Adult Program with the Capistrano Unified School District.
Kristen Tomlinson earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications from California State University Fullerton. She also holds an adult education designated ESL teaching credential from the University of San Diego. She anticipates completing her master’s in Education-TESOL from Concordia University, Nebraska, in summer 2016. Before joining the Saddleback AESL faculty, for the past nine years Kristen has taught multilevel ESL and VESL (Vocational English as a Second Language) at Capistrano Unified School District.
J. Edmundo Vargas graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City as a Dental Surgeon and also studied Civil Engineering. He earned CBEST certification and also is an A+ Service Technician certified to teach Desktop Publishing, MS Office and Internet, Web Design, and Computer Repair. Edmundo currently teaches Spanish language High School Equivalency classes at Saddleback Adult Education MV, and is a substitute AESL faculty member.
Norbert Voisard earned a master’s degree in Linguistics (TOEFL), a TESL Certificate, and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach. In addition to teaching AESL, he teaches ESL at Saddleback College and Golden West Community College. Norbert has been an ESL instructor and tutor for over 15 years, teaching at Irvine Valley College, LASC – American Language and Culture, Newton International College, and the Embassy Center for English Studies.
Sandy Wetlesen earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Biola University and a Master of Science degree in Special Education from National University. She also holds a Clear Multiple Subjects Teaching credential and CLAD certificate. She is currently halfway through the Master's in TESOL program at Grand Canyon University. Before transitioning to Saddleback Adult Education, Sandy was an ESL/GED and CASAS Citizenship Test Instructor with the Saddleback Valley Unified School District. She also has taught similar classes for the Capistrano Unified School District.
Computer Lab Project SpecialistsClaudia Cisternas joined the Saddleback Adult Education team in August 2016. For the past 15 years, she has worked in several schools as a Bilingual Community Services Liaison and as a Bilingual Clerk for the San Juan Capistrano Unified School District. In addition to her extensive experience in different departments in the educational field, she has been working as a Business Personal Assistant and Business Development Specialist for more than 11 years.
Claire Messier was an Executive Secretary in Hartford, Connecticut for 17 years. She completed her course of study at California State University, Long Beach, where she obtained her Part-Time Vocational Teaching Credential in 1998. She has been teaching MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel and keyboarding skills for adult education for the past 14 years, first at Saddleback Valley Unified School District, then at Capistrano Unified School District for the past two years. She joined the Saddleback College team in August 2016.