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Faculty Bios

Laurie Barton


Laurie Barton has been teaching ESL for 30 years. She is the co-author of five ESL textbooks. She has been teaching ESL at OCC since 1999, and she has been advising ESL students at OCC since 2005. Professor Barton loves to travel and has lived in France and Spain. Her degrees include a BA in French from Mills College, an MS in Education with a TESL emphasis from CSUF, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University.  She is the winner of the New Southerner Literary Prize in Poetry and has received two Pushcart Prize nominations. 


Cheryl Bucholtz-Magallón


Cheryl Bucholtz-Magallón is both an instructor and advisor for the ESL Department at Orange Coast College.  She has been teaching ESL since 2008, and she has been teaching at OCC since 2012.  She earned a B.A. from Whittier College with two majors (Global Studies and Spanish) and two minors (Anthropology and Sociology).  She also has an M.S. from Cal State Fullerton in Education with a concentration in Teaching English as a Second Language. 


Cheryl loves to travel and learn about cultures around the world.  For this reason, she has visited 23 different countries, lived in four different countries (Spain, Greece, Costa Rica, and China), and taught EFL in two different countries (Costa Rica and China).  She has also studied Spanish, French, Greek, and Arabic languages.  Professor Bucholtz-Magallón is married and has two dogs.  In her free time, she loves hiking, reading, swimming, and spending time with her family. 


Cheryl Ceralde-Elson

CherylCE_Crop.PNG Cheryl Ceralde-Elson joined the Orange Coast College faculty in 2018. She has taught in a variety of settings and levels, including adult education, IEP, credit, non-credit, beginning, intermediate and advanced. She has been teaching for more than 15 years. She has previously taught at San Diego State University, Glendale College, Long Beach State University, and Marymount College. She has a passion to see students grow in their language learning and especially loves teaching grammar. 


She has two Master's degrees:  Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and Intercultural Studies, which she received from Biola University. She also has a Bachelor's degree in Communications Studies from California State University, Long Beach. 


In her free time, she spends quality time with her two teenagers and husband. She also enjoys traveling, learning how to cook healthy meals, and crafting.


Marely Cervantes


Hello there! My name is Marely Cervantes. I have been teaching since 2006 and joined OCC in 2013, where I have led the English Language Learning (ELL) Program since 2017. I have taught Freshman Composition in the Cal State and community college systems and ESL in the UC and community college systems, as well as in various private colleges. After attending UCLA, I received a Bachelor's Degree  in English and a Master's of Science in Education with an emphasis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from California State University, Fullerton. 


On a personal note: I love languages; I can hold my ground in Portuguese and have no problem singing along a good Bossa Nova song. Sitting through a good French movie without subtitles is not a problem for me, and when I'm frustrated, Spanish creeps up. I've been trying to pick up Arabic for the last year and a half but am still stuck at super basic greetings. Besides languages, writing is my passion. I am a true believer in the power of the written word and find much joy in helping my students become empowered by strong writing skills. 


Rick Chapman

I am American but was born in DR Congo, so I grew up speaking English, French, Kituba, and Lingala. I was lucky to have a pet monkey as a kid and get to see a lot of pristine nature.  After finishing college in Oregon, I returned to Congo and got my first experience teaching English there for three years. 

Upon returning to the U.S. I got an MS in teaching English from CSU Fullerton. I started teaching English at CSUF and concurrently taught at the Vietnamese Community Center and at Rancho Santiago Community College in Santa Ana.  I taught at CSUF full time for 24 years.  I am a grammar specialist, but I also enjoy teaching reading and writing.   

I enjoy music, reading, watching international movies and soccer.  I have traveled quite extensively and love international food.  I took a Spanish class at OCC in 1987, and now I'm taking Spanish lessons online. I'm also trying to learn Chinese, which can be quite a challenge. 


Sean Click


Born in West Virginia, Sean Click grew up in Memphis, Tennessee.  He has an undergraduate degree in International Relations from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. He studied his junior year abroad with Syracuse University in Strasbourg, France.  After Tulane, he earned an International MBA from The University of Memphis.  While in the graduate program, Sean interned at an insurance company in the Montpellier, France.  Sean's first career was in marketing before pursuing his current passion teaching ESL.  Dipping his toe in slowly, he first studied teaching English as a Second language at UC Berkeley's extension program. He loved it.  After completing four courses, he transferred to a full master's program at Sonoma State University. As a part of this program, he competed a teaching practicum at Santa Rosa Junior College and Lake County Community College. Additionally, again wanting to help others, Sean volunteered at a Sonoma Valley Juvenile Detention Center teaching ESL to teenage boys.  The more he taught, the more he discovered he had chosen a promising new path, something he wanted to do with the rest of his working years and beyond.

Luckily, in 2018, he was accepted to intern with the Coast Colleges T.I.E.S. program and was mentored by Dr. Maria Lerma at OCC.  Additionally, Sean has taught at several private language schools with programs at UCLA, University of La Verne, and University of the West. He currently teaches in the both the credit ESL and noncredit ELL programs at OCC. He often tries to integrate some of his past business experience into his lessons where appropriate. This past summer, he taught an ELL class, and he says, "I cannot believe how much fun I ended up having with the students online." 

For fun, he enjoys spending days at the beach, playing with his dogs, reading, cooking, traveling, going to the movies and the theater for concerts and plays, and gardening. Ask him to wiggle his ears.  He's very good at it.



Diane Colvin

Snail_1.jpg  Snail_2.jpg

As a child, Diane Colvin trained her dogs and moved on to younger siblings and cousins. After getting a B.A. at CSULB in History and doing graduate work at UCLA in Classics (Greek + Latin, and also German), she accepted a job teaching ESL in Japan. While living in Japan, she got her M.A. in TESOL at SIT (The School for International Training) in Vermont and also became proficient in Japanese. She encourages you to visit Japan and Vermont if you have a chance! 

She started teaching at OCC when she returned to California, and subsequently got her doctorate at CSULB, where she did research on the role of the dean at community colleges and on professional development because she was working as the Staff Development Coordinator for OCC at the time.  She loves teaching every level of written and spoken English. She wants you to know that working with ESL students helps her understand the global life we all lead today. 

In her free time, she enjoys playing with technology, videos, games, coding, and educational tech, of course. Diane also plays the violin and the viola, which she started as a child and continues to do daily. She enjoys spending time in her garden and is interested in growing California-native plants so that the animals and insects will be happy. Taking long walks as we work at home now, she has discovered two new hobbies, snail watching and photography (see above). She is still teaching a dog, so some things never change. She said that she looks forward to seeing some of you in class.


Thomas (Tom) Dude


Tom Dude was born in San Mateo, California. His love for language sparked while studying in Spain for a semester. It was there that the seed of teaching was planted in his mind by his Spanish teacher. She told him that since he loved the culture of the Spanish-speaking world so much, teaching English would open the door to living there. After receiving his B.S. in International Business, he did just that.

In 2011, he moved to Barranquilla, Colombia to teach at a local bilingual school through AIESEC. During his time in Barranquilla, he fell in love with the teaching profession and decided to make it his lifelong career. After working with AIESEC, he returned to California and earned his M.A.E. in TESOL from Alliant International University, after which he immediately returned to Colombia to teach at a vocational school (SENA) in Valledupar and later at Universidad de San Buenaventura in Cartagena. He has since moved to Southern California, where he teaches ELL and ESL at Orange Coast College.

Tom continues his studies in language and education to improve as a language educator and to find new ways to help his students acquire language. He is currently in the teacher's credential program for Spanish at CSU Long Beach, and he is also beginning to study other languages, such as Portuguese and Japanese. To him, language is a tool to communicate with and learn about people from around the world.


Paloma Duran


Paloma Duran teaches ESL and English at Barstow College, Victor Valley College, and Orange Coast College. She has a Master's degree in English/Teaching English as a Second Language from California State Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) and a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside (UCR). Her father immigrated to the United States from Mexico, and his success in achieving the American dream inspired Paloma to help immigrants achieve their dreams in America and advocate for their access to education. 


Paloma lives in Victorville, California with her partner and their two cats, Elizabeth and Alyza, and their dog, Dr. Phineas Finn. She enjoys peaceful activities like walking her dog, reading, and vegetarian cooking.


Marci Gomez

Marci - profile.JPG 

Hello! My name is Marci Gomez, and I grew up in Orange County, CA. My parents are from Jalisco, México, and they maintained our heritage language, Spanish, at home. Hence, I can speak, write, and read in Spanish. My love for languages and cultures is due in part to my upbringing and our beautiful local diversity.

In 2010, I earned my B.A. in Psychology from Cal State Fullerton. I also studied abroad in South Africa, where I attended Nelson Mandela University and took a Xhosa language course. Although I learned basic Xhosa phrases, I tried to communicate in Xhosa when the opportunity was there. Moreover, I volunteered with two local nonprofits there, Masifunde Learner Development and Isithembiso. In 2018, I returned to my alma mater and earned my M.S. in Education with an emphasis in TESOL.  

Before joining OCC, I worked locally with non-credit ESL students and abroad in South Korea and China. As an English teacher in South Korea, I taught grammar, reading & vocabulary, conversation classes, and English camps. As a language lover, I took it upon myself to speak Korean as much as possible while I lived there. I'm continuing my learning process, and hopefully, one day, I'll be an advanced speaker. In China, I did workshops for Chinese English teachers on classroom motivation and activities. I've also presented my vocabulary and student assessment projects at CATESOL and the Annual Conference on Literature, Culture, and Languages at Cal State Fullerton.  

When I'm not teaching, I enjoy running, hiking, and camping. Anything that has to do with the outdoors, I'm there!

Mark Herbst

MarkH.pngI had the unique experience of growing up in a small town on a mostly undeveloped island right here in Southern California—Catalina Island!  If you don't know about Catalina or haven't visited yet, ask me about it!  You can see the island on a clear day from Orange County, so I guess that makes Orange Coast College my local community college.  Possibly because of the special place I spent my childhood, I have always been interested in new places, languages, and cultures.

I started learning Spanish at a young age and went on to earn a bachelor's degree in Spanish and Government from the University of Redlands.  Later, I received my master's degree in TESOL from Biola University.  My international experience includes studying Spanish and starting my teaching career in Ecuador, and teaching summer English programs in Turkey and Northern Iraq.  Back in Southern California, I have been teaching ESL and Citizenship Preparation since 2007.  In my free time, I love learning new things, exploring nature with my family, and growing fruit and vegetables in my backyard.


María Lerma


As the senior faculty member in the department—and co-chair/scheduler, I am very excited to see all the changes in the department, including our new courses, ESL 100 (equivalent to Freshman Comp) and ESL 192 (one level below Freshman Comp), which are CSU/UC transferable.  This could not have been accomplished without all the hard work of our amazing team, especially Laurie Barton, Cheryl Bucholtz-Magallon, and Marely Cervantes.  

I am also happy to be part of the T.I.E.S. Program, which helps grad students get prepared for community college teaching.  My 3 former interns—Sean Click, Cindy Nguyen, and Marci Gomez—are now part of our team.  We are fortunate to have them. 

I received my BA in English and Russian Studies from USC.  While completing my Master's in English (concentration: 20th Century American + British Lit) at CSULB, I decided to pursue graduate work in Linguistics (love Chomsky), which led to my teaching ESL. As a (perpetual) grad student there, I taught writing in several departments, including the Chicano/Latino department, where I had the most amazing students who constantly challenged me with their insights.  Salmon-like (not ready to die, however), I returned to CSULB to complete a doctorate in Educational Leadership; my dissertation topic was Student Engagement in the Online Learning Environment at the Community College Level—pretty handy at the present time.

Like many ESL instructors, I love language.  I am a native speaker of Spanish, thanks to my Mexican immigrant parents.  Although I was born and raised in the U.S., I went to kindergarten not knowing a word of English; by 2nd grade, however, I was the best reader and writer in my class because my mother took my three siblings and me to the public library every weekend.  In addition to Russian, I have studied Italian and Chinese.  I can also play piano, clarinet, and violin at a basic level. 

My hobbies are reading, cooking, and webinaring.  I enjoy hanging out at home and admiring the mallard ducks, owls, possums, falcons, squirrels, rats, parrots, lizards, coyotes, and rabbits, all of whom (which?) believe that I am invading their territory—see pic of my front yard above. Most of all, I love working with OCC students—I learn so much every semester from my students.   


Michelle Livote


Michelle Livote grew up in Orange County, not far from OCC. She received her bachelor's degree from Multnomah University in Portland, OR.  She earned her M.A. in TESOL at Azua Pacific University.  Michelle loves learning about other cultures and from her students as well as her love for teaching.


Michelle lived and taught English in China for two summers.  She has also taught English in Korea during one of their coldest winters.  Michelle has been teaching ESL for over 20 years at OCC and other community colleges in Orange County.  She also loves to travel, swim, hike, and learn new things.  Recently, she has been learning about horses and how to ride.  


Cindy Nguyen

Cindy.PNGCindy Nguyen has always been passionate about giving back to her community. In 2012, Cindy volunteered to teach free English lessons to underprivileged students in Hue, Vietnam. It was a rewarding and life-changing experience that led her to pursue a career in education. 

Cindy earned her BA in English from Cal Poly Pomona in 2015. In 2020, she graduated from California State University, Long Beach with an MA in English (concentration: Rhetoric + Composition), as well as a Graduate Teaching Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). 

In 2017, Cindy worked at Orange Coast College as a teaching intern. She observed and interacted with students in various ESL courses on campus. Currently, she works at Fullerton College as an embedded tutor for Freshman Composition courses. This will be her first semester of teaching at OCC. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, camping, working out, and spending time with friends and family. 

Sterling Wilson


I  have worked at all levels of education over 25 years --10 years internationally and 15 at College level here in the US. I hold an MA in Liberal Studies along with a BS in History and German.  I studied and worked internationally-- both Spanish (living nine years in Barcelona, Spain) and German (year and a half as an international student, 3 years with Lufthansa airlines). 

I also work with financial investments and property management.

Finally, I have enjoyed a deep study of yoga and Vedic culture over the past 15 years, traveling to India on 6 separate occasions for extended stays.  I am both a certified yoga asana and Kriya Yoga instructor and certified Jyotishi.