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World Languages Coordinator, K-12

Maria Zachary
World Languages Coordinator, K-12

Maria Zachery has over 20 years of experience in World Language education and believes that studying another language prepares students to meet the challenges of becoming global citizens by enabling them to communicate effectively, interact with cultural competence and understanding, connect with other disciplines, acquire diverse perspectives, and participate in multilingual communities. She holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the Southern Connecticut State University, a Master of Arts from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Fairfield University.

Maria emigrated to the United States from Portugal in 1975. She began her career as a Spanish teacher in 1991 in Washington D.C. where she designed and ran a program for grade 7-9 bilingual students and also served as department chairperson at the Alice Deal Junior High School. In 1994, she returned to Connecticut to teach Spanish at Fairfield Warde High School, followed by The Renbrook School, and then Amity High School where she also assisted with the organization of professional development opportunities. She has always emphasized oral communication while also building functional proficiency in reading and writing. Her ultimate goal is to build interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational language skills while targeting proficiency goals and cultural competence. Maria came to Westport in 2011 as the World Languages Department Coordinator, and took on oversight of the K-12 language program. She encourages all of the teachers in the World Languages department to consistently assist students in achieving functional levels of language proficiency and competence by exposing students to authentic opportunities and real-world situations in a supportive, non-judgemental environment. One of her proudest accomplishments is planning and facilitating the exchange program and Asia Pacific Young Leaders Summit with our sister school in Singapore, the Hwa Chong Institution, which provides students from both schools with an opportunity to experience education and culture in another country. She is an active member of The National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages, The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, The Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, and The Connecticut Council Of Language Teachers.

In her spare time, Maria loves to expand her language skills and experience other cultures while traveling with her family. She believes that we can build lasting connections through authentic interactions- “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart- Nelson Mandela.”