Mary Ann Sanidad’s mark on Gavilan programs extends across the collegeby Jan Janes on Jun 14, 2019
Students who have taken language classes at Gavilan College during the past 25 years have felt the touch, if not the presence, of Mary Ann Sanidad.
A French/Spanish major in college, she obtained her MA in Linguistics with an emphasis in teaching English for speakers of other languages. Sanidad’s love of language dovetailed with her passion for travel. Before getting married she traveled, participated in the Fullbright Scholarship program and lived in Switzerland, where she learned German.
“This was my life!”
Settling a big, blended family in Morgan Hill, Sanidad taught languages, especially English as a Second Language (ESL) at Gavilan beginning in 1992. “ESL was a team effort and department as people came and went,” she said. By 2001 she was teaching full time and filling in for tenured faculty on sabbatical. Between 2006 and 2010 she wrote curriculum for Spanish, French, German and Italian classes.
Randy Brown, Mary Ann Sanidad, Dr. Kathleen Rose and Fran Lozano at the
staff recognition dinner.
“By 2001, the ESL program was quite large,” said Sanidad. The entry class had three full sections, the next level up had two. Classes remained full for the next several years. But between 2009 and 2013, the program saw a drop in enrollment. She served as ESL department chair in 2009 and 2010.
Along with ESL instructor Kathy Campbell, Sanidad visited the program at Monterey Peninsula College. “We learned about dual enrollment and mirrored classes,” she said. “They also offered the program to credit and noncredit students.”
With a commitment from Dr. Kathleen Rose, at the time Executive Vice President of Academic Services, Sanidad shifted the ESL program to an integrated curriculum that included reading, writing, grammar, listening, speaking and pronunciation. The students enrolled in the previous program were allowed to complete with the original curriculum.
In 2010 Sanidad was tapped as project director for the first Title V grant. The grant created funding for computer access to students without computers at home, installation of computer labs and professional development for best practices.
“It was a really big project,” said Sanidad. “My favorite was the student success center.” The original student success center started where the portables used to be. It included independent study rooms, basic skills counseling and an early alert for students at risk of failing.
“It was similar to a one stop shop,” said Sanidad. “A room of computers, with basic skills counselors available by appointment.” Students could get counseling, use computers, find a quiet study spot, a place to stay between classes, eat and hang out.
The grant also offered ESL conversation groups. “It was so amazing for them,” she said. “The ESL students felt marginalized on the larger campus, they felt they didn’t belong anywhere.” The success center later moved to the location where the Career Transfer Center is now located.
Grant funding also supported the jump start program, placing students in accelerated math and English classes with counseling support, as well as the Welcome Center Rambassador program.
The college adapted its programs in 2014 after the passage of AB 86 and AB 104, ending K-12 involvement in adult education. Sanidad led the consortium that brought together adult learners under Gavilan’s regional adult and career ed services.
“The focus is to increase services so students can stay in school,” said Sanidad, “Getting them into the workforce more quickly.”
The program, now in its second three-year plan, helps students transition from adult school to college classes or the workforce, from non-credit to credit classes, and from vocation to academic studies. “We want to take out the obstacles,” said Sanidad. “Get students from one program to the next, quickly. Then accelerate again.”
Mary Ann Sanidad with her husband Dan, at the recent staff recognition dinner.
Approached with the one-time early retirement offer, Sanidad said it was a very hard decision to make.
“I love Gavilan, and I love what I do,” she said. “I have lots of energy and interest, and I love building programs.”
Weighing all the factors, Sanidad said yes. Her husband retired in 2015 and wanted to spend more time together. She wanted to spend more time with their grandkids. “We don’t know when our ‘time’ will come, so we wanted to make the most of the time now.”
And she wants to travel again.
Sanidad has been involved with the sister county commission between Santa Clara County and Florence, Italy, promoting peace. She also has family in Rialto, in the Liguria, a favorite place for bicyclists and rock climbers from around the world.
“Perhaps we’ll explore the communities in those mountains,” she said. “Or buy the family house and maintain it.”