The Power Behind The School

Meet the Spanish Legacy Team

Mara Jacobs

Founder

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

Teacher

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.

Wendy Occhipinti

Preschool Director

Hello! My name is Wendy Occhipinti. I am the Director at Spanish Legacy Preschool. I am excited to be a part of such a great organization and the premiere Spanish immersion preschool in the Sarasota area. I have over 21 years of experience working in Early Childhood as both a director and teacher. I have recently moved to Florida from New Jersey. I have a bachelor's degree in Political Science and a graduate level elementary teaching certification. I have both my Staff and Director's credentials from the state of Florida. My hobbies are reading, meditation and yoga. On the weekends, I can either be found on the beach shelling or touring around Disney. One of the first things I did when we moved to Florida was to become an Annual Passholder!
I welcome you to visit our beautiful school and I look forward to personally sharing with you the reasons why Spanish Legacy Preschool is a great place for your child.

Carmen

Teacher

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.

Myddri

Spanish Teacher

Myddri's bio is coming soon!

Erin

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.

Alexandra

Italian Teacher

Alexandra De Stefanis
Milan Italy
Istituto Magistrale
Italian instructor
Conversational Italian +
Interests:
Traveling, reading, history, gastronomy.
Are You Passionate About Teaching?

Join Our Team

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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