West Valley College ESL Department


Gail Barta

Gail Ann Barta came to West Valley in 1991 and has been teaching ESL since 1974. Her interest in teaching and working with people from other cultures has given her the opportunity to travel to various parts of the world, including Europe, Africa, and Asia. She was a foreign student in France, a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia, and an ESL instructor in Japan. Originally from the Chicago area, Gail's interests include traveling, cooking, movies, and baseball. It is her fervent desire that the Cubs win the World Series in her lifetime. (408)741-2482; Office LASS 4c.

Lisa Bell
Kathy Castello (408) 741-2045, x3387
Chris Fathman
Isabel Filiz

Isabel Filiz returned to West Valley College in 2012 where she had previously worked as the ESL Skills Coordinator from January 2000 until June 2001.  Her interest in teaching and working with people from other cultures started at home with her European immigrant mother, who taught at Berlitz School of Languages in Palo Alto, California. After Isabel finished her B.A. in English with a special emphasis (minor) in creative writing from Santa Clara University, she lived and taught in Italy where she was able to travel to many places as far and wide as York, England to Istanbul, Turkey. After returning to the U.S. to finish her M.A. in English from Claremont Graduate School in Southern California, she began her ESL career in 1994 at Santa Clara Adult Education and Sunnyvale-Cupertino Adult Education. In her free time, Isabel likes going to concerts and movies, playing guitar, and spending time with her family and her very loving, enthusiastic Labrador retriever mix. (408) 741-2053, ESL Skills Lab

Ellen Goldman

Paula Lee


Sylvia Ortega has been teaching at West Valley since 1997. She was born and raised in California by immigrant parents from Michoacan, Mexico. She enjoys visiting family and friends there as often as possible. Sylvia received a Bachelor's degree in Spanish with a Special Emphasis in Ethnic Studies from Santa Clara University and a Masters degree in TESOL from San Jose State University. While she teaches English to her students, she learns about their cultures and customs. Sylvia currently lives in San Jose with her family.

Ann Marie

Ann Marie Wasserbauer  is the department chair for the ESL Department. She has been teaching at West Valley College since 1994. She has a bachelor’s degree from Xavier University in German and History and studied for two years at the Berthold Brecht Universitaet in Augsburg, Germany. She also received her masters degree in TESOL at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Ann Marie has coordinated the International Partners Program since 1995. If you are interested in participating, contact her at (408) 741-2486; LA Office 4D.

last published: 4/1/18