Meet Kristi Reyes

Sharing a Bond Through Language

It’s all about giving back to the profession. That’s the message from Noncredit English as a Second Language (ESL) Professor Kristi Reyes, who is not only helping immigrants become comfortable with the language of their new home, but is a leader with professional development organizations helping other ESL instructors improve their skills.

Reyes is a former Assistant Adult Level Chair of the California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (CATESOL), serves as a trainer and mentor with the Outreach for Technical Assistance and Networking (OTAN) Adult Education Division at the California Department of Education–which supports adult education programs initiating or expanding the use of instructional technology–and she is active with the California Adult Literacy Professional Development Project, also known as CALPRO.

“I had really great mentors myself who helped me become a better teacher, and that has made me want to do what I can to help others,” Reyes said.

Born and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota, Reyes said a turning point in her life came while spending a year of study abroad in France, while studying French and English at the University of South Dakota. “I stepped off the plane and didn’t understand anything,” she said. “That really helped me understand what students learning English are going through.”

Reyes later spent two years in the Polynesian kingdom of Tonga with the Peace Corps training elementary school teachers how to teach English as a second or foreign language.

While earning a Master of Arts degree in teaching English as a second language in 1997 from Northern Arizona University, she learned about MiraCosta College while engaged in a research project. Months later, she was hired as a part-time ESL instructor in the Noncredit ESL program. She became a tenured faculty member in 2008.

“The greatest thing about teaching English to adult immigrants is that I get to learn every day,” she said.