The Power Behind The School

Meet the Spanish Legacy Team

Mara Jacobs


They say if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life, and that's true of Mara, who brings her enthusiasm for language and children alive at Spanish Legacy. For Mara, Spanish Legacy is more than a school, it has become a launching pad for helping children reach their full potential and opening the doors for adults to expand their horizons beyond what they thought was possible.

Because of her father’s job, Mara grew up all over the world – South America, Europe, and the United States and became bilingual out of necessity. Learning a second language sparked a genuine love of language and with it came the luxury of global travel, the business advantage of being able to work anywhere, and eventually led her to found Spanish Legacy. With a degree in psychology, Mara is an authority on language education, having taught in both public and private schools. She is a seasoned educator who has been formally trained in both Waldorf, Montessori, International, and classical methods. She developed a proprietary method to teach language from any age.

When Mara isn't teaching, tutoring or with her schoolchildren, she enjoys spending time with her husband of 26 years, and her children. On the odd occasion that she has some free time, she enjoys sitting down with a good book, seeing an occasional movie, traveling and entertaining friends.



Claudia is a beloved teacher who has been with Spanish Legacy Academy for over a decade. A native speaker from Mexico City, Claudia graduated from La Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico with a double major in Spanish Language & Literature.

Claudia started her career working as an English translator for the city government but found her love of children and passion for teaching at an English immersion school in Mexico. In the United States, she continued to pursue what she loved most - bringing language to children.

With enthusiasm, love, and creativity, Claudia teaches all ages at Spanish Legacy, delivering her innovative lessons that are engaging and always tailored to the specific students in her class. When she's not teaching, Claudia works as a fantastic mother and is an active community volunteer.

Lina Rincon-Hoover

Preschool Director

Lina has been devoted to early childhood education since she moved to USA. Lina is a Colombian artist, photographer and educator.
She moved to the U.S. in 1999. After living in Tampa, Florida for the first 13 years, she relocated to Frisco, Texas in 2012 with her husband and daughter and now she is back in Florida.

Lina holds a B.A. in Art from Universidad Autonoma del Caribe and certification in Art Instruction from Fundacion Universitaria Bellas Artes, both in Colombia. She also holds a director credential from Texas and Florida, she had her CDA and NAFCA Certification and she has certification in Digital Photography from the University of South Florida. In addition to her formal education, she has taken multiple classes and seminars focused on early childhood

She is highly committed to her vocation because she sees a need for children to have a healthy environment and positive guidance. During times when many parents are working as hard as they can to provide necessities for their families, “I love to be there emotionally for children,” she says. “I want parents to be able to leave their children knowing they are in a good situation while they are at work.”

In addition to directing Spanish Legacy Preschool, Lina has an Art Gallery in Downtown Sarasota where she exhibits her artwork and teach art classes to children and adults.



Carmen, originally from Quito, Ecuador, came to the United States as a young adult to work at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC. Later, with her family, she lived and studied foreign languages and art in France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands before moving to Sarasota.

Living abroad gave Carmen the opportunity to understand the process of learning and teaching a foreign language through its different stages, and she taught both Spanish and English while living in Europe. Carmen brought this insight and expertise to Spanish Legacy where she teaches both French and Spanish to students of all ages.

When not teaching, Carmen sings in a French choir, loves listening to world music, reading in multiple languages, and spending time with her two children and two grandchildren.


Spanish Teacher

Myddri Leyva Escobar has been a Spanish Teacher for over 12 years. She was born in Cuba in 1981, in the city of Santa Clara. In Cuba, she studied a “Licentiate in Letters” at the Central University ``Marta Abreu” de la Villas where she later worked as a professor at the Faculty of Humanities for 8 years. In 2016 she got the Master Degree in Theoretical and Methodological Studies of Spanish Today at the same University. During that period, she specialized in the branch of Spanish Linguistics and Sociolinguistics. She published the book “Dictionary of Bantu Terms used in Cuban” as well as several articles related to the semantic changes of words in different magazines. At the same time, she collaborated with the “Easy Spanish School” in New York. In 2017 she moved to the United States. In that same year, her degrees were given their equivalents as Degrees of Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and Master of Arts in Spanish earned at regionally accredited institution of higher education in the UE. She worked for two years within the ESOL Program of the Guymon Public Schools in Oklahoma, where she gained her experience working with children between the ages of 4 to 7 years. She also worked as an interpreter for migrant families for the immersion of their children in the schools of Guymon, Oklahoma. Three year ago she moved to Sarasota, Florida where she currently lives. She began working in Manatee County Public Schools. Since November 2019, she has been working for Spanish Legacy Academy in teaching Spanish as a second language for children and adults. Through this Academy, she joined the EAEE staff since last year, working on teaching Spanish to children between 2 and 6 years old. She has completed all the basic studies of the DCF courses to work in childcare. She is also credentialed from the State of Florida to teach Spanish K-12.


Office and English Teacher

Erin is a graduate of Augustana University, where she earned her degree in English. She is a published writer with experience as a general assignment and crime reporter. She works in the office at Spanish Legacy and is the academy´s English teacher.

In her spare time, she likes to be outside with her son.


Italian Teacher

Alexandra De Stefanis
Milan Italy
Istituto Magistrale
Italian instructor
Conversational Italian +
Traveling, reading, history, gastronomy.
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Are you a dynamic, creative, and motivated educator, passionate about students of all ages and bringing bilingualism to all? Then you might be right for our team. Spanish Legacy is growing and always looking for the right person to join our team.

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