•  The English as a Second Language Department thanks you for your visit to our webpage. We are excited about the 2018-2019 school year and know that our students will accomplish great things! Below you will find information about each member of our team and our roles in serving the ESL students of the Gulfport School District. You can find us at every school in the district as well as the district office teaching and supporting our ESL students and their teachers. 


    Jalea Adams - ESL Specialist
    Velma Johnson - Director of Federal Programs
    Lea Bellon - Director of Instructional Programs

    Instructional Staff 
      Katherine Carr
    ESL Teacher
    Grades K-8
    Originally from Gulfport, MS, I am a lifelong learner of languages.  I pursued this interest at the University of Mississippi where I received my first degree, a B.A. in English. After undergraduate graduation, I continued my studies with a M.A. in Modern Languages with a TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) specialization.   Following my M.A., I completed MAPQT, an alternate route certification program.  My certification is in English, Spanish, German, and ESL. My teaching experiences include being a volunteer teacher in community ESL programs, a teaching assistant in a university Intensive English Program, and a K-12 certified ESL teacher.  I am a member of AMTESOL on whose Board I serve and TESOL professionally and have presented at local, state, and national conferences.  Currently, I teach grades 6-8 at Bayou View Middle School and Gulfport Central Middle School.  I also teach K-5 at Central Elementary. 
    Glenda Cilliers
    Grades 3, 9-12
        I graduated with an Accounting degree from my country, Honduras, after which I pursued a degree in General Studies at William Carey University with concentrations in English, Social Studies, and Spanish.  I started working for Gulfport School District 16 years ago in the Spanish Program as the program leader. With this program, I had the opportunity to be a trainer for five districts across the state of Mississippi, including Oxford, Greenville, Gulfport, Pascagoula, and Poplarville.  I also had the honor to be a presenter for the Spanish Program at MFLA.  Since 2010, I have been working in the ESL program where I have taught K-12th grade.  Currently, I am teaching 3rd grade at Anniston Elementary as well as grades 9-12 at Gulfport High School. 

     Norma Forrest
    Grades K-2, 4-5



    Originally from Nicaragua, I moved to Miami, FL in 1988 and to Gulfport in 2003, where I live with my husband and children.  I learned English as a late teenager, and understand the challenges faced by students learning English as a second language.  I graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi in May of 2014 with a BA degree in Foreign Language (Spanish) and minor in Paralegal Studies.  For the past three years I worked at Harrison Central Elementary School, and I am now excited to be part of the Gulfport School District.  My passion is to provide ELL students with the tools and opportunities necessary to become fluent in the English language, assimilate into American culture, and be successful, productive members of society. I teach K-5 at Pass Road Elementary, Bayou View Elementary, and Anniston Elementary.


    Natalia Huffman
    Grades K-5
    Originally from Columbia, I graduated with a B.A. in Industrial Design, a field in which I have been published professionally.  Since moving to the U.S.A., I have been working for 12 years in education, all in Gulfport School District.  For the first part of my career, I worked for the Spanish program. For the past several years, I have been an instructor in the ESL program during which time I have presented at AMTESOL and SETESOL. Currently, I teach K-5 at Gaston Point, West, and 28th Street Elementary. 
    Mariah Johnson 
    ESL Teacher
    Grades K-2

    I am a lover of languages and world cultures who enjoys traveling the world. In addition to my love for cultures, I have a passion for learning, which has lead to me receiving two bachelor's degrees, one in International Business and the other in Spanish, along with my master's degree in Teaching Languages with an Emphasis in Spanish. I have taught elementary science and social studies where I combined my love for different cultures, history, and science together in the classroom. I now work as an ESL teacher where I can fulfill my passion for teaching students acquiring English as a second language. Currently, I teach K-2 at Anniston Elementary.