Romina Mancilla
Director of SF Spanish

I was born in Quilmes, a province of Buenos Aires, and have been living in San Francisco for over a decade. My work and personal travel have taken me to many Spanish-speaking countries over the years, but Mexico has always been a major draw for me. Each time I visit, I like it more than before.

I love teaching my native language because it allows me to use my creativity, to share my knowledge of the language and culture, and to meet new people.  I enjoy sharing my travel experiences, daily life, and interests outside of teaching. I have been taking dance classes for years now, and dance is one topic that comes up frequently in class conversations since quite a few of my students also dance.
For me, the key to learning Spanish is to use it and speak it regularly.  When I arrived to the US, I began to study English and found that using it in a variety of formats was the most effective way for me to retain the language. I have also studied other languages over the years and I discovered that memorizing vocabulary and doing workbook exercises was not the best way to learn. Seeing this, I began to make an effort to use the language more by putting new words and concepts directly to use in conversation.
When I started SF Spanish, I intentionally created a learning environment based on conversation. The "Spanish only" policy encourages students to think and speak -- and excel -- in their new language.  For this reason, I also created the interactive SF Spanish website for students to use outside of the classroom. Here, they can interact with other students and continue to write, read, and listen to the Spanish language.

Carmen Gomez de la Cuesta
SF Spanish Teacher Coordinator

I am from Spain, and I have more than 15 years of experience as a professional in the Communication and Literature fields as well as in teaching Spanish.

I have the title of teacher of Spanish as a second language certified by the Instituto Cervantes and as teacher coordinator; I try to apply my experience to ensure that SF Spanish teachers provide consistent, effective guidance and supervision in accordance with the student's training plan.

I’m constantly searching for different approaches to teaching my mother tongue. My other passions are traveling, books, and good wine. My main goal is to continuously build my understanding of the wide network of Spanish cultures and expressions throughout the world. I’m thrilled to be able to share this amazing journey with the students of SF Spanish! 

Laura Isabel Marquez Orta
SF Spanish Teacher

I’m Laura, and I’m from Venezuela. I used to teach at the University there, and I am happiest when sharing my knowledge of Spanish language and culture.

I came from beautiful Venezuela to San Francisco at the beginning of 2016. I believe this city is the perfect place to be free and meet people from everywhere. 

In 2015, I spent a few month in Paris, where I had the opportunity to learn French. This is now added to my list of languages I know, including English and Spanish. I enjoy spending time with friends, reading, and watching movies. I also love fashion, traveling, and the beach. I have been to Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Austria, Spain, France, England, and Germany. I think that traveling is the best way to learn about people, languages, and cultures.

When I teach Spanish I'm pretty relaxed, enthusiastic, and patient. One of the reasons that I enjoy teaching Spanish is because it gives me a way to share my culture, spreading awareness of the Venezualan way of life.

Ditter Alexis

SF Spanish Teacher

I was Born in Mexico City where I lived for 31 years before getting the opportunity to move to San Francisco. I am an accountant and I have over 10 years of experience working for financial companies. This has provided me with tons of experience training and teaching in different areas which has helped me discover different approaches to share my knowledge of the Spanish language.

Even in high school I was part of a tutoring program to help my peers understand material and improve their grades so teaching is a big part of who I am. I have also spent time working with various communities in the Mexican countryside helping people to read and write Spanish. Now that I’m part of the SF Spanish team.

I am very excited to be able to share with students my vast knowledge of the Spanish language and vibrant Mexican culture!

Jefferson Vertiz

SF Spanish Teacher

My name is Jefferson Vertiz. I am from Piura, Peru where I worked and lived for 29 years before moving to the Bay Area. Originally I studied accounting, but in 2015 I decided to change directions and dedicate myself to teaching. Teaching is something I am very passionate about, helping students overcome the challenges of learning Spanish is something I find to be very rewarding. I have over 4 years of teaching experience with both adults and children. My teaching style can be described as active and participatory.

While living in Lima, Peru I worked as a career coordinator at a prestigious institute which helped to pave the way for my career in teaching. Working there allowed me to develop my teaching and communication skills, while there I was recognized as "The Teacher of Excellence 2018". In my free time I enjoy photography and graphic design.

Carlos Vargas                                      

SF Spanish Teacher                                       

My name is Carlos Alberto Vargas Marquez. I was born in Philadelphia, but spent most of my life in Colombia. I studied Political Science and Performing Arts in Bogotá, before deciding to teach. I have more than 10 years of experience teaching, across various different areas. While in Colombia I dedicated a large part of my life to working with volunteer organizations in some of Colombia’s most vulnerable communities. Aside from teaching, I am also very passionate about the arts. Specifically painting, dancing, acting and music.

 Andrea Chavez

SF Spanish Teacher

I was born and raised in Mexico City, one of the biggest cities in the world! I moved to San Francisco three years ago and during my time here, I’ve experienced how empowering a second language can be and how helpful it can be for achieving personal and professional goals. This is part of why I’m so passionate about languages. Languages are the best way to expand our horizons, learn from other cultures, connect with them and also help others who do not have the privilege of traveling or learning languages other than their mother tongue.

For me, empathy, connection and knowing how to adapt to each student’s needs and strengths are crucial for optimizing learning and having fun during our time together. Breaking free from conventional ways of teaching and learning is what makes teaching at SF Spanish so enjoyable! Since I’ve been in San Francisco I’ve taught Spanish to psychotherapists and entrepreneurs, among others, for them to be able to speak with confidence when working with Spanish speaking clients, open their practice to a larger audience, or simply have the knowledge to be able to give basic information and referrals for people seeking help.

Some of my hobbies include dancing, fitness, nutrition, nature and traveling!

Joaquin Rinaldi

SF Spanish Teacher

My name is Joaquin Rinaldi I was born in San Francisco, CA but raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina! I joined SF Spanish because teaching has been my focus and longtime passion for my entire professional career, and teaching my native tongue especially gives me so much joy and satisfaction. I have over 6 years experience teaching Spanish to both children and adults.


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