About Us

Alexandra Cunningham

Teacher

Education New York University, B.A. Art and Urban Community Development Courses Taught Spanish I, II, II Honors Personal Statement As an alum of NDSJ, I really enjoy be...

Katherine Lipps

Teacher

Education B.A. French, Santa Clara University Teaching Credential, Santa Clara University Professional Associations California Language Teachers Association Foreign Languag...

Bayard Nielsen

Teacher

EducationB.A., Psychology, UC Davis Single subject credentialProfessional AssociationsAmerican Council on the Teaching of Foreign LanguagesCourses TaughtSpanish III Honors Advan...

Guillermo Portillo

Teacher

EducationB.A. Spanish, Studio Art, Santa Clara University M.Ed., Teaching Credential, Stanford University Courses TaughtSpanish 1 Spanish 3Personal StatementWhat inspires you in...

Catherine Sharer

Teacher

Education B.A. Spanish Bryn Mawr College M.A. Spanish Middlebury College Teaching Credential, Santa Clara University Professional Associations American Council on the Tea...

Our goal is to make language accessible and enjoyable for all, with an emphasis on speaking. Our students go on to become global citizens in a world where cross-cultural communication and knowledge of another culture is a critical attribute.

In our department, all teachers collaborate daily. Such collaboration allows us to plan together and share experiences, successes, and challenges. We are extremely proud of the diverse activities, projects, and courses that have been created: research papers on WWII, poetry and literary analysis, anti-racism brochures, pen pal projects, debates, Socratic seminars, service projects in the Spanish speaking community, work with the “day workers”, etc.

Spanish teacher Bayard Nielsen's Spanish III Honors project, Day Worker Stories, was recognized as a globally engaged program by the American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). You can read more about the project on their website here.

Fast Facts about the Notre Dame Modern Language Department

  • Travel around Bay Area, Costa Rica, France, and Spain 
  • Eat food from Spanish and French speaking countries throughout your four years!
  • Spanish I fuses an introductory language education with digital learning.
  • French I uses an unique approach to beginning French that combines fun and learning.
  • Take Mandarin I through our partnership with Middleburry Interactive Languages
  • Walk to the día de los Muertos altars at the MLK library with Spanish II and Spanish II Honors 
  • Be a pen pal with an elementary school student in Spanish II Honors
  • Take a workshop on French painters and then imitate Seurat's pointillisme, Matisse's collages, Monet's water colors in French 2
  • Create your own children's books about a French painter in French II Honors
  • Interview day workers at the Mountain View day worker center in Spanish 3 Honors
  • Create an anti-racism booklet based on Tahar Ben Jelloun's Racism Explained to My Daughter in French 3 honors
  • Visit Rodin’s sculptures at Stanford in French 4AP 
  • Learn about six different cultures through movies in Advanced Spanish through Culture and Conversation