Maria Montalvo is a professor in the School of Education at Kendall College. She is also the Director of Education Grants. Most recently she was asked by President Knight and Provost Hillesheim to help design the Laureate English Program (LEP) to teach English as a second language to international students.
“This exciting new program is launching in January, 2014. We’ll be seeing even more international students come to Kendall to learn English and get to know our beautiful city,” says Montalvo.
Her background positions her well to be a huge asset to the Kendall community. “I’ve been teaching and administering educational programs for forty years. I’ve had a vast assortment of experiences such as being involved in the public and private sectors from Pre-Kindergarten to Graduate School education which have afforded me opportunities to serve as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, bilingual program specialist, district curriculum coordinator, and clinical supervisor,” she shared. “I have also written and managed grants for several school districts and colleges/universities and I have supervised pre-service teachers in the field.”
While Montalvo insists it’s hard to pin down her favorite thing about Kendall College, she says it’s “working with the students. That’s what it’s all about.”
“[I am surprised by how much I am constantly] learning from our students. Philosophically, I believe that an integral part of teaching is developing rapport and a symbiotic relationship with students. It’s lovely when a student brings in a completely novel idea or perspective into the class.”
When asked what her favorite thing about being an instructor, she immediately shares “Are you familiar with the slogan “I touch the future, I teach?” Well, I teach future teachers. The joy is exponential.”
You might be surprised that as a child, Montalvo dreamed of being a translator at the United Nations.
“Later that dream morphed into being an archeologist or perhaps an anthropologist. I love history so, it would be something about explaining the why and how of things.”
When she is not at Kendall College, she might be found tending to her roof-top garden. “I love to Garden. We live in the city and have a huge roof-top garden. We love going to art shows, the theater, and concerts. I also really enjoy cooking.”
But her favorite thing about Chicago isn’t the food, it’s the music. “The music scene [in Chicago] is amazing! New artists, blues, Jazz, reggae, rock, opera. Where else can you listen/see Riccardo Muti conducting – for free? There are [many] fantastic music and theater venues in the city.”